Heartbroken daughter on homeless dad's death: 'He didn't want to feel like a caged animal by living in a house'

2018-10-26 15:06
Jess Hickey and David Oxton. (Photo: Magazine Features)

Jess Hickey and David Oxton. (Photo: Magazine Features)

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A young mom from Manchester, England, has spoken out about the heartbreak of losing her long-lost dad, just five years after she found him to be homeless by chance.

Jess Hickey, 22, grew up without knowing her dad, David Oxton, but was finally united with him in 2013 when he came up to her asking for spare change in Manchester city centre.

They remained in close contact, with Jess regularly visiting him, but despite her best efforts David wouldn’t start his life over with her and insisted on remaining on the streets, saying that living in a house would make him feel like a "caged animal".

“He was used to living on the street and it was difficult for him to break the habit and live his life. I never judged him for it despite the conditions he was living in,” Jess said.

David passed away from liver failure on 9 October.

'It was a huge shock'

Jess and her family are hoping to raise about R75 000 to give her father a fitting send-off.

“It was a huge shock and certainly something we didn’t expect. I saw him as invincible so it was a big shock,” she said.

"We just have to deal with it and do the best that we can do.”

Jess says she’s thankful for the time she was able to spend with her dad and recalls vividly how she ran into him.

“I was walking towards Victoria Station and someone approached me and looked a bit rough around the edges.

“He asked me where I’m from and said he was from Bury. He told me to put my wallet away and walked off.”

She chased after David and when she’d caught up with him, he revealed his identity to her.

“I felt so safe when I was with him. He was amazing, he’d always give amazing advice and he was funny.

“He was so caring and kind. The very little that he had, he shared. He was selfless and so positive despite the situation he was in.”

Jess Hickey and David Oxton

Although Jess is trying to come to terms with the loss of her dad, she cannot help but feel her time with him was cut short.

“Nobody wants their parents to go so soon. He was only in his forties, it shouldn’t have happened so soon.”

The family wasn’t aware of David’s health condition and Jess believes if he got appropriate treatment his life may have been prolonged.

Source and Pictures: Magazine Feature

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