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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Sports star's single parent plea
One of the UK's leading basketball stars has paid tribute to single parents who juggle work and family.

Former New York Knicks player John Amaechi was speaking as he was welcomed as the new ambassador for the charity One Parent Families.

Mr Amaechi, 33, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, told the conference in London on Thursday of his own upbringing by his single mother.

"You (single parents) are special and amazing," he told the gathering.

I was a latchkey kid, but despite my mother having to work very long hours she made herself fully available to us, emotionally and psychologically
John Amaechi

Mr Amaechi, who plays for his local team Manchester Magic, said barriers had to be destroyed which discouraged lone parents from getting a job.

"Lone parents need to have the opportunity to enter full education to better themselves and in the more long term to enter the workplace with enough flexibility in hours that they can give the necessary time to their children, their own life, and any relationship they may have in the future, or the flexibility to not work if they feel that is best for them."

'Amazing memories'

Mr Amaechi drew on the experience of his late mother Wendy who raised him and his two sisters while working as a GP in England after her marriage broke down in the USA.

"I was a latchkey kid, but despite my mother having to work very long hours she made herself fully available to us, emotionally and psychologically.

"I have amazing memories of periods where we lived on budgets which were outrageously slim, but she was so creative at making ends meet and giving us this amazing upbringing.

"My heart can barely contain the pride, the love, the inspiration that she gave me."


SEE ALSO:
John Amaechi, Basketball player
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