Cromer-born Simon Thomas up for celebrity dad of the year after coping with grief of wife’s death

Simon Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Simon Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Former Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has been nominated for celebrity dad of the year after dealing with the heartbreak of the death of his wife and mother of their eight-year-old son.

The Cromer-born presenter's wife, Gemma, died in November just three days after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Mr Thomas, 45, has spoken openly about the pain he and the couple's son Ethan faced at her death, saying: 'The silence that has always felt so peaceful, is now a painful, claustrophobic one as I crave that front door to open again and her smiling face to come walking back in.' But he said friends had been 'beyond amazing' with their messages of support and said 'the darkness will hopefully not overcome'.

He has now been nominated for the celebrity dad of the year prize along with Prince William, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Rio Ferdinand and Liam Payne for the prize. The winner will be announced in June.

On Wednesday, Mr Thomas told BBC Breakfast that losing his wife to cancer was 'the biggest test' his faith has ever had.

He told the programme telling their son about his mother was 'the most crushing, brutal thing you will ever have to say to anyone'.

He added: 'I think, as the weeks have gone on, the reality of daily life, of mum not being around, has begun to hit home.

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'He finds it difficult when he's alongside families, where he's with his friends that he's grown up with for the last eight years, and for the most part he's playing like he would have done any other time, but quite often when it's home time or they leave, he goes very quiet and often the tears begin to flow.

'Because he sits there and while he's enjoying himself, the brutal reality of seeing his friends still with a mum, still with a dad, hits home.'

Mr Thomas initially grew up in Cromer before his family moved to Grimston, near King's Lynn, and they later moved to Surrey.

Discussing his Christian faith, he said: 'It's the biggest test it's ever had.

'If I take God out of the equation, the faith that I've had throughout my life, then the hope disappears because the hope is that one day I see Gemma again.'

He continued: 'In my limited experience so far, you cannot get through this and not be changed.

'The only question is what kind of person are you going to develop into and my hope in this - and hope is a the centre of how I try and deal with it.'

About the dad of the year award

The Clas Ohlson Celebrity Dad of the Year Award is open for voting until June 10.

As well as Mr Thomas, the other dads on the shortlist are Anthony Joshua, David Walliams, Josh Patterson, Liam Payne, Mark Hoyle (LadBaby), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Rio Ferdinand, Simon Cowell and Tyson Fury. People can vote for their favourite online at