Sheffield baby lifesaver David Walkden is named dad-of-the-year

Happy together: David Walkden, wife Lorna, son Dougie and baby Elsa.    Picture: STUART HASTINGS.

Happy together: David Walkden, wife Lorna, son Dougie and baby Elsa. Picture: STUART HASTINGS.

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THEY say becoming a good father is all about being there for your children.

And for newly-crowned dad-of-the-year David Walkden, and his daughter Elsa, that couldn’t be more true.

For David was there at the most crucial point of all, to save Elsa’s life.

He leapt into action when she was found blue and not breathing in her cot just the day after coming home from hospital.

The quick, calm response meant she was soon resuscitated - and wife Lorna secretly nominated him for the honour from Practical Parenting & Pregnancy magazine.

Modest David, 37, is now celebrating after readers voted him the winner and he received his prize in a London ceremony on Thursday.

The sales and marketing manager, of Longford Drive, Bradway, said: “I always try my best as a dad, but I didn’t necessarily think I’d be a stand-out contender so I was very pleased.

“My family and friends have been very supportive and all feel that I deserve it and it’s recognition for what happened. Whilst I have been voted dad-of-the year, it’s about a partnership and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support of my wife.”

Elsa, now a bouncing 11-month-old, stopped breathing because she had fluid on her lungs that newborns normally expel after birth.

Guided by emergency services over the phone, David gave Elsa mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until she began to cry. Grateful wife Lorna, 33, was amazed by his calmness and put him forward for the award as a thank you.

She did not tell David until he was through to the final three entries, despite saying it was ‘what any father would have done’.

The family - also including son Dougie, three – travelled to a five-star hotel where David was presented with his award and a cheque for £100.

Daniella Delaney, editor of Practical Parenting & Pregnancy, said: “David and Elsa’s story touched the hearts of many people. It is such an inspiring story, and when you meet him he is such a lovely calm guy. It is hard to imagine how anybody would react in that situation.”

David said: “It feels like I don’t have it harder than anyone else, so I’d like to thank everyone who voted.”

n Read David’s story in the July edition of Practical Parenting & Pregnancy.