02 Jun 2020


Five/four incredible dads have been announced as the finalists of Wagon Wheel’s Epic Dad of The Year, and the public can now vote for their winner. The fab five fathers who make up the shortlist have been nominated by their friends and family, following a historic shake up for the award, which formerly awarded celebrity dads only.
Epic biscuit brand Wagon Wheels, called for nominations of the heroes and legends of 2020 from all walks of life, particularly those who have gone above and beyond to help their families and communities throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Finalists
Richard Leachman
Richard a 38-year-old news broadcaster from Dartford, has inspired his three children to take incredible action during the current crisis, helping to produce 7,000 units of PPE for those in need across North Kent. When Richard and a friend discovered that that their local care home was desperate for facemasks, he decided to do some research to see if they could be printed using the family’s 3D printer. Finding an approved design online, Richard and his children went about repurposing the printer they had previously used as a hobby, to try and do something to help, together.
Now, the family are one of 16 that Richard has united across North Kent to continue the project, and between them, they produce 800 units of PPE per week for anyone from nurses, to shop workers, all free of charge. As Richard is a key worker himself, he’s juggling the additional work alongside his day job, as well as home schooling three children with his wife, making him a truly EPIC dad!

Craig ‘Brooksy’ Brooks

Craig was nominated for his 28 year service to Glasgow’s policing frontline, and for everything he continues to do for his community and family during retirement. During his career, Craig, affectionately known as ‘Brooksy’, received the Chief Constables High Commendation for Bravery as well as being honoured by the Royal Humane Society. His heroics have not ceased during the current crisis, as he’s been using his contacts to help facilitate the delivery of PPE and hand sanitiser supplies to those living in deprived and under resourced areas of Glasgow.
That’s not all as Craig isn’t slowing down with his epic contributions any time soon. He already has another project in the pipeline, that will utilise his passion for music in order to help promote the cause of veteran charities this July. His son, Alfie said that his dad always puts others before himself, and has given his mum the support she needs to keep going, as she works as a nurse during the crisis. What an epic dad!
Ben Goodyear
Ben, 43 is Vicar at the Parish of Herne Hill church, London and father to four children. He has long been a community hero, even before the pandemic. His wife, Rachel said that a few weeks ago, he popped out for what was meant to be a quick trip to the shop, and took so long, he left her wondering where he had gotten to. When Ben finally arrived home, it transpired that he had stopped to help someone who was panicking in the shop over not having any money, filling up a basket of food for the woman and paying for it himself. He’d also stopped to give foodbank vouchers to a homeless person and topped up someone's electricity, all on the same trip.
During the pandemic, aside from his unending acts of spontaneous kindness, Ben has also found a way to move his church services online, via YouTube so that he can keep the community connected and continue to give support and hope to his parishioners, whilst maintaining social distancing rules.

Darren Chillery-Watson
Darren, 49 from Wiltshire was nominated for the huge sacrifices he has made during the pandemic. His daughter, Carmella has Muscular Dystrophy, which places her in the category of people who are required to practise social shielding to protect themselves against Covid-19. So when the pandemic hit, Darren moved into the garden shed in order to both protect his daughter and continue to do crucial work in the community, whilst also providing for his family.
Part of Darren’s job involves picking up coronavirus samples for testing, and despite working long days, he still manages to make time to support Muscular Dystrophy charities. Darren recently appeared on The Channel 4 documentary ‘Britain’s Unsung Heroes’, sharing his story and revealing the heart-warming bond the family have been able to maintain, despite their tough challenges.
Oliver Richbell
Oliver, 42 from Bedford was nominated by his daughter who said that ‘her daddy should wear his pants over his trousers and a cape because he is such a super hero.’ Oliver is Chairman of the charity Wooden Spoon Bedfordshire – an organisation that helps raise money to support disadvantaged children and young people.
During the current crisis, Oliver has helped where possible to support a local children’s hospice and also a charity which provides resources and food for socially disadvantaged children in Bedford. His family say that he hasn’t stopped over the past weeks, and has also found time to visit people who are lonely during isolation, all whilst being ‘the king of snacks’, which is also a fitting reason to be nominated for Wagon Wheels’ Epic Dad of The Year!

How to Vote
The public can vote from today by visiting the website at www.epicdadoftheyear.co.uk. Those who want to support any of the shortlisted Epic Dads have until midnight on Sunday to cast their vote. Ahead of Father’s Day, the winner will then be crowned Wagon Wheels Epic Dad of The Year 2020.
Speaking about the partnership, Kate Needham, Marketing Director at Burtons Biscuits said:
“The award this year is all about celebrating real, epic dads. We want to shine a light on dads who have been every day heros and local legends throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic and an inspiration to all those around them. 
“Our partnership with Epic Dad of the Year reinforces our position as fun-loving family brand with an epic sense of adventure. Having been a lunchbox favourite for generations, today the mighty Wagon Wheel is loved by kids and grown-ups alike.”
Vote for your chosen Epic Dad of the Year now at www.epicdadoftheyear.co.uk and get involved in the conversation on social media using the hashtags: #EPICDad2020 #EDOTY2020 and by following Wagon Wheels on Instagram @wagonwheelsofficial, Facebook, Burtons Wagon Wheels and Twitter@_Wagonwheels