Flood of cards for widowed ill grandad after daughter’s secret appeal on special birthday

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.
70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.
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A pensioner battling cancer has been given a birthday to remember after receiving a mountain of cards from well wishers following a secret appeal by his daughter.

When Mike Phelan woke yesterday on his 70th birthday, he expected only three cards to open on his special day.

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.

But after his daughter Tania Dickens made an online appeal for help to make the widower’s day a one to remember, he was instead greeted with a mountain of almost 50 cards from well wishers.

The grandfather-of-one, from Byron Lodge Estate, Seaham, says the gesture left him “overwhelmed” and “emotional.”

Mike, who lost his wife Lesley to cancer, is now himself battling stomach cancer.

The former health and safety advisor for BP said: “It was just one hell of a surprise when Tania walked in with the cards.

I was only expecting three cards but I’ve got over 40 at least - it’s unbelievable

Mike Phelan

“It was really emotional. I was only expecting three cards but I’ve got over 40 at least – it’s unbelievable.

“It took me quite some time to open and read them all. I never expected anything like this.

“I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to send me a card.”

Tania, of Red House, Sunderland, had taken to social networking site Facebook, where she appealed for help in making her dad’s 70th birthday a one to remember.

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.

Her call was answered by a number of people who all popped a card in the post for Mike, who spent the day at Barnard Castle with his daughter and grand-daughter Collette Smillie.

Tania said: “When he saw all the cards he was over the moon. It was so emotional we all cried - but they were happy tears. He has not been well with the cancer and I just wanted to do something extra special for him. We are a small family, just myself and my daughter – we just wanted to do something different.

“The response from everyone has been so overwhelming – it really has been fantastic.

“We can’t thank people enough for helping to make his day extra special.”

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.

70 year old Mike Phelan celebrates is birthday with daughter Tania Dickens and grandaughter Collette Smillie, and cards from well wishers.