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'He gives me a teddy for my birthday and I still snuggle up to him'

Mick and Lisa Cannon got even closer as they coped with trauma of losing mum to cancer

Mick Cannon is the father of Xpose presenter Lisa Cannon. Originally from Castlebar, he was an English and Maths teacher, and a music writer for Hot Press. He sadly lost his wife and Lisa's mum Laura to cancer in 2008, and she was a French, German and English teacher.

"My dad has to be the best dad you could possibly wish for," says Lisa. "He is so kind, loving and caring, and very chatty and lovable, but he's also really cool. He's a massive music fan, and he always brought me to concerts, films, plays and ballets from a very early age. He is very well read, and has interviewed people like Roy Orbison and The Clash. My passion for music stemmed from him."

Mick jokes that Lisa was 'tormented' by having parents who were both teachers, and she says that they were a big help with her studies. "Mind you, if you didn't do well in exams, you had so many questions to answer," she laughs.

The family enjoyed regular visits to Castlebar, where Mick's parents had a family pub, Cannon's. He and Laura were a little worried when Lisa decided to take drama and theatre studies at Trinity College because it can lead to an insecure career path, but were thrilled when she got the Xpose job.

"Lisa is beautiful, but she has a beautiful, kind nature, too, and I think she's really natural on TV. I can't believe she gets to interview The Rolling Stones or Robert De Niro. People say to me that my claim to fame is that I'm Lisa Cannon's dad. We went away recently, and the airline staff were asking Lisa all about hair and make-up as one of them was getting married.

"Lisa brings me to the red carpet quite a lot and it's good fun. We went over to the US for a week, and met Beyonce, who was actually terrific."

Lisa recalls how funny it was when her dad asked Beyonce to pose for a pic, which she most graciously did. "It was that classic moment where you're just embarrassed by your parent," she laughs. "Every daughter has one."

When it comes to dating, her dad is more black and white about her boyfriends than her mother would have been. "If someone doesn't treat me right, they're out, which I think is typical of a dad/daughter relationship. Dad is a shining light in my life, and it's going to take a big man to measure up to him, but luckily my boyfriend Richard is not too far behind."

"I suppose every dad is protective, but I've liked every boyfriend she's had and Richard is really nice," says Mick.

"Lisa is very caring and compassionate, and we have the same sense of humour and can laugh at ourselves. There is a great chemistry between us.

Traumatic

"Lisa is also very close to her grandmother Nora in London, who has just turned 100. We stayed in Claridges for Christmas two years ago, and came down on Christmas morning to a horse and white carriage that Lisa had booked as a surprise to bring us all around London."

Lisa thinks she and her dad are particularly close, because they only had each other following the death of her mother Laura in 2008.

"It was terribly traumatic, horrendous and surreal," she says. "Dad put beautiful quotes up to help my mother when she was ill, and there was a lot of love in the room in her last few weeks. We sang songs together, ate great food, laughed and told stories.

"It was very tough for Dad, and he had to stay strong for me, too, as I very much leaned on him. I still snuggle up to him like an eight-year-old, and he still gives me teddy bears on my birthday. He also writes me a beautiful letter every year, describing what has happened to me that year, and we read it and have a couple of cry breaks and laugh breaks."

Lisa loves her "Dad days," which generally happen every Sunday, and Richard and Lisa's dog Lulu comes along too. "I think Lisa is scared that if anything happens to me, she's going to be left with nobody, being an only child," her dad points out.

"She has loads of friends, though I'd love to see her settling down. I'm so proud of her."


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