Byline: Susan Lee
FOR Graham Walton it will be one of the most unusual Father's Day gifts ever - a bit of peace and quiet.
In a home usually alive to the tumult of six daughters Graham will be joined by just one on Sunday, Sarah.
It's a prospect he's facing with mixed emotions.
'I'm used to it being a bit of a madhouse - the girls coming in to the bedroom with presents and sitting on the bed - so it will be very, very quiet. I think I'll miss it,' admits Graham, who lives with his family in New Brighton.
'But it will be lovely to spend some time with Sarah. Ironically, she's probably the quietest of the lot. She loves Chinese food - she's the only one of the girls who does - so we're going to a Chinese restaurant for a meal.'
His oasis of calm comes as a result of a combination of family holidays and work commitments.
Wife Jan is travelling to Majorca with daughters Kate and Hannah to see Jenny, who is working there as a children's holiday rep.
Lucy is also there with a friend, while Ruth is busy with her job in a hotel near Macclesfield.
'So that just leaves me and Sarah - I'll feel like an unmarried father of one!' laughs Graham who is as busy as ever with his painting and decorating business.
It's all a far cry from Graham's very first Father's Day, 21 years ago.
'It was just a blur,' he recalls. 'Everything was just so crazy.
Back then we were so busy changing bums, feeding and taking the girls for a walk and then changing more bums - it was like painting the Forth Bridge - there was just no time for stuff like that.'
The intervening years have seen things calm down - a little.
'Jan and I always say this house is like a cross between a Travelodge and a Little Chef but they never forget Father's Day and I always get individual presents.
'Bottles of whiskey are always welcome, of course, and one year I got a T-shirt which says: Fathers are not just for Father's Day. I still wear it.'
Being the dad of the world's first sextuplets makes him almost uniquely qualified as a dad - so how does he rate himself?
'I hope the girls will look back and see me as a laid back father, a nice, kind bloke who was always there for them,' he smiles.
'There had to be discipline, of course but I don't believe in smacking. I actually did it just the once and it upset me so much I said I'd never do it again. Ironically it was because one of the girls smacked her sister!'
In spite of his trade as a painter and decorator - and because of that world-changing event 21 years ago at Oxford Street maternity hospital - Graham also has another flourishing career as a public speaker.
'It started about four years ago. Jan was in the Women's Institute and a speaker had let her group down. So she put my name forward.
'I'd never done anything like that before and I was so nervous. But once I'd got the first laugh it …