Happy birthday 2 you Ava!

Ian Richardson with his daughter Ava, who is celebrating her second birthday

Ian Richardson with his daughter Ava, who is celebrating her second birthday

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PLAYFUL tot Ava Richardson poses for the camera on her second birthday – 21 months after surviving the crash which claimed the life of her mum and sister.

And as proud dad Ian Richardson, 39, cuddled his precious little girl Ava, he said: “She is as good as gold but she is already getting those occasional little spurts of the terrible twos.”

A big weekend lies ahead for Ava, from Billingham. It’s her birthday today and doting dad Ian was planning a family party with friends and children tomorrow.

Today, he spoke fondly of the changes he has seen in his little girl.

“She is her own little person, she really is,” he said.

“When she wants my attention, she will say ‘daddy’ a lot. And if that doesn’t work, she will look at me and say ‘Ian!’”

Previously, he described Ava as his reason for living.

It was in August 2010 when the Richardson family car was travelling back from a family wedding when it was hit by another vehicle travelling the wrong way on the A1 in Newcastle.

Ava’s mum, Joanne Richardson, 40, and her six-year-old sister, Mya, were killed in the crash.

Ian, who runs a marketing and communications firm on the Queens Meadow Business Park, in Hartlepool, suffered four smashed ribs, a popped rib cage, a bruised lung and heart, whiplash, broken toes and cuts in the crash. Ava was not injured.

Since the accident, Ian has thrown himself into a hectic schedule for the charity he set up in memory of Joanne and Mya. The Jo and Mya Memorial Fund helps children who have lost loved ones.

And on top of all that, he is weeks away from the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on the Bishop Auckland leg of the official relay.

Ian has been chosen to run on Sunday, June 17, which is Father’s Day.

He said: “It is going to be very poignant for me and it is going to be hard.”

But he said the torch relay and his mammoth charity schedule was his way of getting through each day.

“It helps keep me focused and the fitter I get, the better I feel.”

● To add your support to the memorial fund visit www.joandmya.co.uk