Tragic dad is fighting back

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A TRAGIC dad has exclusively told how he is getting back on track - almost four years after he lost his wife and eldest daughter in a car accident.

Ian Richardson’s world was devastated when his wife Joanne, 40, and daughter Mya, six, died in August 2010. He suffered post traumatic stress disorder and ceased working.

But four years on, he is battling back from the depths of grief and told the Hartlepool Mail how he was now concentrating on helping others.

He has written a chapter for a new book which is being planned on post traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “When you are at that level of despair, it helps when you have words you can focus on.

“You know that you are going to go through all sorts of terrible things but it’s nice to know that you can reach past hurdles and say to yourself ‘that guy was right’. If my circumstances can help other people, then that has to be a good thing.”

Ian, who lives in Billingham, is one of 12 people to have contributed to the proposed publication called The Book of PTSD. It has been organised by the not-for-profit social enterprise group Positive Action for PTSD, whose co-founder Simon Buckton had PTSD himself. He said: “I am coming from the same place as Ian and we are trying to do something positive.”

Simon hopes the book will help counselling of other people with PTSD.

Ian admitted his only focus immediately after the accident was raising his youngest daughter Ava, now aged four, who survived the crash. He said: “There was only Ava. After the accident, even getting out of bed was a struggle but Ava was everything.”

But now he has returned to work,

Ian added: “Ava is about to start at school and I have more time on my hands. I thought ‘let’s go for it’ and having had a taste, it is the self confidence thing coming back. When I got back into it, I tried to add A to B and correctly got C.

“I thought ‘I can do this and I can add something to the business and I can be an asset’. I might not be back to 100 per cent but I am working towards it and I am working on new projects.”

On top of all that, the charity that Ian founded in Jo and Mya’s memory - called the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund - is going strong. Its aim is to support children who have lost loved ones and its fundraising total has topped £100,000.

Ian wants to work with schools and set up a programme where teachers can learn how to deal with grief among schoolchildren.

“Children can be affected by all sorts of grief, whether they have lost a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, even a family pet and it can have massive consequences for them.

“Teachers are often the first to have interaction with children. There are courses in the south of England but they are expensive and I would like to help.”