Parental taxis rank among cheapest

A personal view
A personal view

I make no apology for the fact that my late Dad is a constant theme running through my columns - as he is in my day-to-day life.

He taught me so much. From having a strong work ethic to support your family, to helping others as much as possible.

He even occasionally taught me how not to do things, but learning from mistakes is all part of the tapestry of life.

One thing I always remember is how - come rain, shine, snow or frost - he would always be standing on the touchline cheering me on during my youth football endeavours.

This was fine when I played about five minutes from my house on the Essex and Suffolk border.

But when I later played in Colchester and then Sudbury and the miles were clocked all around the two counties, he could have been forgiven for missing the odd game.

But not my Dad, getting up early on his one day off, always willing to give others a lift and even once braving the elements without a coat after giving it to one of my young team mates on the touchline.

All of these fond footballing memories came to the fore this week when a journalistic friend sent me a survey which found that mums and dads typically play taxi on average 700 miles per year.

The research showed that one in every 10 family car journeys is now for ferrying kids to after-school clubs and classes - driving the distance between London and John O’Groats in an average year.

Uncovered by a car insurance company, it was pretty startling stuff and I am sure there are many parents reading this – well I hope they are reading this – nodding in tired agreement.

A friend of mine ended up taking his son to four after school clubs every week until something had to give – both for him, his petrol bill and also his young son whose schooling would have surely slipped at some stage. It makes me tired just thinking about it!

I want my two boys to experience as much after-school activities as possible. Try everything, I say, and then see what you are good at and enjoy.

I am fully aware it doesn’t stop when my two boys leave primary school. The report revealed that a parent’s ‘taxi service’ sees them take their teenagers, and older, on at least four journeys a week, ferrying them around friends’ houses and from nights out.

When that day comes, and I moan about the petrol bill or the fact I am picking up my 18-year-old at some midnight hour, I will just think about my Dad – and smile. A bit.