A LOVE note left by Mya Richardson for her adored father has become a permanent tribute to the six-year-old and her mother, Joanne, who were killed in a horrific car crash just three days after it was written.

Her heartfelt childish scrawl, complete with spelling mistake, hearts and kisses has been tattooed onto his inner arm with the words “to daddy, I love you more than enything. Lots of love, Mya xx

Ian Richardson was travelling home from a family wedding in Scotland on August 8, when his car was hit head on by a driver heading the wrong way down the A1 near Newcastle. Their 10-week old baby daughter survived but Mrs Richardson was killed instantly and Mya died 16 hours later in her father's arms.

Since setting up the Jo & Mya Memorial Fund two years ago he has raised an amazing £100,000 to help children who are directly affected by the sudden loss of an immediate family member.

As well as taking part in the Stockton Riverside Rat Race in August he will jog alongside 90 supporters in the Great North Run later this year but his latest charity event is connected to the North-East Tattoo Expo this weekend (June 14/15) at the Arc arts centre in Stockton.

Mark Bester of Marked for Life, who painstakingly copied Mya’s precious note with his needle, will be one of more than 50 professional body artists from across the world showing off their skills on Saturday and Sunday from 11am until late.

“Mya would always leave me little love notes, this one that she gave me three days before the accident was still on my desk when I came out of hospital,” said the 41-year-old from Billingham, near Stockton.

Mr Richardson, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the smash and has short term memory loss.

“People say you must move on but you never get over it. People say time is a great healer but you wake up every morning and they are not there. The tears and pain never leave you but I never want to stop thinking about them.

The Northern Echo:
The tattoo tribute to his daughter

“People see me smiling and they think “he must be over it” but the pain never goes away. A big part of me has gone and it will always be that way. You can empathise but I do not want people to understand because it’s the most horrendous place possible.”

The former managing director of an advertising agency is now slowly returning to his windows and doors retail business. His clinical psychologist introduced Mr Richardson to meditation and ‘mindfulness’, a calming technique he has found invaluable when coping with anxiety.

“You choose a white path or a black path, you have grey days but I do not let the black days take over as that will only end up going one way.”

Ava, who goes to the same school that her sister attended, turned four on May 18 and is “doing well” said her father. Like Mya, she has blonde hair and blue eyes as has Noah, his nine-month old son with a new partner.

The Northern Echo:
Ian Richardson with wife Joanne, daughter Mya, six, and baby Ava, at the wedding of his brother Simon in Dundee. Mrs Richardson and Mya were killed in a head-on collision as they headed home to Billingham, near Stockton

“I have a new relationship and it’s great. Ava is my saviour and Noah, he has taught me to open my heart again.”