As well as marking my 30th birthday back in May, this year also marked my Dad's 60th. He really wasn't keen on the idea of having a party (despite my bounding enthusiasm - balloons! ice cream! what's not to love?!) So instead I decided to make a special gift for him with a little help from his friends. I'd seen this project a while ago, and wanted to do something similar so I decided to write to all my Dad's friends and relations, asking them to doodle on a postcard for his birthday, and post it back to me so that I could compile them in a book for him.
Some of my Dad's friends were handily on Facebook so easily contactable, but most weren't so I sent out letters to about twenty people, explaining the idea and asking if they'd have time to pop something in the post to me before his birthday. It was a pretty open brief, I left it up to everyone to choose whether to write a funny memory, draw a picture or send photos.
I wasn't sure who'd write back but got my first reply a few days afterwards, from my Dad's old boss when he'd worked for the Museums service back in the 80s. He'd written a sweet and funny poem and sent a photo along with it.
As the weeks went by I got more replies. Some were very funny and some included photos of my Dad that I'd never seen, from when I was a child. I learnt that he'd once painted a mural on his friend's wall and that once he'd had his hand bitten by my auntie's naughty dog. I even got an email from a long lost friend who hadn't seen him in years. I pasted them all into this album for him and drew some of my Dad's favourite book characters from his childhood on the cover, and gave it to him on his birthday on Tuesday.
My Dad was so happy looking through the book, and told me he couldn't have wished for a better present! I'd definitely recommend it as a personal present for someone celebrating a special birthday - it was such fun gathering the responses I had through the post and putting it all together. My Dad said it made him feel lucky to have such nice friends.