An elderly man who secretly put together a collection of presents for his neighbor’s little daughter has died.
In a heartwarming gesture, the 87-year-old stashed away 14 presents for Cadi William as his final act of kindness.
The gifts were to be delivered after his death to the 2-year-old, with the little girl getting one present each Christmas until she turns 16 years of age.
Ken Watson from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, watched Cadi grow up before his eyes and loved her as his own granddaughter.
The Christmas gifts collected by the old man was discovered by his daughter Jenny when she was cleaning out Ken’s home, just weeks after his death.
When Jenny delivered the gifts to Cadi’s parents, Owen and Caroline Williams, the couple was reduced to tears.
Owen said of Jenny: ‘She was clutching this big bag plastic sack and I thought it was rubbish she was going to ask me to throw out.
‘But she said it was everything her dad had put away for Cadi. It was all of the Christmas presents he had bought for her.
‘I brought it back in and my wife was on FaceTime to her mum in Ireland. My wife started to tear up and I started to tear up, and her mum started to tear up.
‘It’s difficult describing it because it was so unexpected. I don’t know how long he put them away whether it was over the last two years or whether he bought them towards the end of his life.’
Ken loved Cadi so much that he once told her parents how he wished to live for 100 years, just to see her grow up.
The old man was left alone when his beloved wife Beryl died in 2012. And since he had no grandchildren of himself to spend time with, he took up an assortment of hobbies which kept him occupied.
An election canvasser, a wood turner, an accordion player, a keen metal detectorist, and a classical music and opera fan – Ken had an incredible personality.
He ran his family’s Cardiff bakery business – The Watsona Bakery – after serving as a cook during his National Service at RAF Holton.
Following the death of his wife, Ken also started parachute jumping, wing-walking and even skydiving – all that at the age of 85.
Speaking to a local media outlet 2 years ago, he said: ‘After my wife had passed away I took a long time to settle.
‘There’s a space around me. I still hear her voice and speak to her. I began parachute jumping. I enjoy these sort of things, I feel the rush of the air.
‘The second jump was the best. I thought ‘gosh I’m an eagle’.’
Recalling their first meeting, Owen said of Ken: ‘We moved to the street three years ago and made a real point of going round and meeting all the neighbors.
‘Ken wasn’t in when we first called round, but the next day we heard some banging.
‘I went out to investigate and there was Ken in navy overalls bouncing across the face of his house at the top of a 20ft ladder.
‘He was 83 at the time. That just summed him up really, he was a former salvage diver in the Severn Estuary, a seaman, carpenter, baker and he did a aeroplane wing walk when he was 85.
‘On that first meeting he gave our dog a chocolate biscuit. She absolutely loved him from that moment on. Really loved him passionately. She would shriek when she saw him, he was such a character.’
Though Ken kept his plan a secret from most people, his son Ian was aware of it. ‘I’ve known about this since before my father died. He was a very kind man,’ Ian said.
‘It is a lovely story and I would like to tell the world what a lovely guy he was.’