When his mother’s health began to decline, Nick’s father David got a job at a recycling depot.
It was the start of an interesting journey.
In the 1960s, there was a widespread belief that recycling was an environmentally friendly way of doing business.
When Nick first moved to the suburbs, his mother was the only family member to accept him and he had to take the long way round the city to get there.
By the time he was 16, he had moved to a suburb of Liverpool, where he worked in a local supermarket.
His job involved sorting and sorting out rubbish and he was happy to take his time sorting it out.
He was also happy to help his dad get the bins packed.
At the age of 17, Nick got married, had a daughter and settled down in a suburb in Kent, where his dad worked.
Nick’s father is now 92 years old and still manages to walk around his house in his wheelchair.
There is something about that old house, he said.
I was walking around it when I was thinking about the things that I wanted to do, he told me.
But, he added, there is still something that makes me want to do it.
You know, I don’t have a family, he says.
A week before Christmas, Nick was at a neighbour’s house when a car pulled up alongside him.
“I looked in the window and it was the family car,” he said, “and I just went ‘wow, that’s a nice family car’.”
I just thought ‘wow’ and just wanted to go home and get out of there.
“I didn’t realise it was Christmas, so I couldn’t quite believe it.”
It was like being in the year of the owl, when we were looking at all the owls that were coming up the street.
“The next morning, Nick drove his mother and step-grandmother home and, while his father was waiting for the lorries, he took out a box of letters from his daughter and his sister to deliver to the family.
As he waited, his eyes widened.
They had arrived.
All the letters were addressed to him.
The first letter, he was told, was from his mother, saying: “I want you to know that I’m so glad that you and I are doing well.
We have lived through some pretty tough times, but now is a good time to start to move on.
For me, the most important thing is for you to be happy.
“The second letter, written to his sister, read: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been home.
Please forgive me if this letter doesn’t come right out and say it, but I want you and your family to know we’re going to make it through this.
“The last letter was written by his step-father, written in his own handwriting: “You’re going through tough times with your father, but you’re also going to have to live with the fact that your dad is dying.
Don’t worry, I know you’ll do your best to survive.
“It is a story of a family struggling to live through difficult times, one that Nick’s mother and father both tell their daughters.
And it’s a story about how much a father’s absence can mean to a child.
Nick’s mother said that she had never heard him cry.
Her mother told me that she knew that her father was depressed, so she did everything in her power to make sure that her son got help.
She took him to the nearest doctor and was told that it would take weeks before Nick would be able to take him home.
She also found it difficult to keep him from being suicidal.
So, she did what she could to keep her son calm and positive, which she did by reading to him from a bible, which was filled with prayers for the family, and by putting her son down when he was crying.
The letters also went out to other families.
Nick says that the letters made him feel like he was part of a community.
My dad said to me, ‘I am your god, I am your son, I love you’.
It was a really good feeling, she said.
It wasn’t until his daughter was 10 that she noticed that her dad had a heart condition, and that his life had become a lot more difficult.
One Christmas, he couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to see his family again, she recalled.
What could he do?
I didn- I didn – I could do anything, she thought.
That Christmas, his life became much harder.
After a few weeks, his family found out about the condition.
Eventually, he became so ill that he needed to be hospitalized for months.