Jonathan has been single dad to his six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, since his ex-wife left the family two years ago.

When my son was nine months, my wife bought a ticket back to China and left us. Nobody knows what I’ve been through, it was hell.

I’ve had a rough ride. I was working full-time for the NHS and explained to my line manager that I needed to cut my hours. But she was abrupt and unsympathetic.

I was leaving work, rushing to pick up my son and daughter, give them their tea, they were tired and stressed, so was I. Also, my son got very ill, he was affected by breastfeeding stopping suddenly.

Eventually I took early retirement from my job, I  set up an electronic engineering business but again found it too much combining work and kids. Now I’m on income support and will be until my son starts school. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived on benefits.

I try to blend in but I am unusual, being a single dad in a small village. I sympathise with other single parents, keep your chin up, I say. I don’t have any family around me to help. But by now I’m used to pulling my socks up and getting on with it, so that’s what I do.

So young

My little boy needs a lot of attention, he’s still so young. With my daughter it is getting easier now she’s older. She washes and dresses herself now and is learning how to make breakfast for herself. I’m proud of her, she’s very independent. When my wife first left, my daughter cried when it was time for school and she was still shy and withdrawn this time last year. Now I wait at the school gates and she walks confidently into class.


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