Meet the adorable four-year-old who helps her dwarf dad tie his shoe laces and even climbs on him to get things out of the fridge

Here’s a father-daughter bond with a difference! Meet the adorable little girl who’s formed a unique bond with her dwarf dad. 

Rich Willis learns to walk with daughter, Cherry, 4

Rich Willis learns to walk with daughter, Cherry, 4

Cherry Willis, 4, from North Frodingham, Yorkshire, helps her dad, Richard, 46, tie his shoe laces, rides her bike while he’s on his wheelchair and even climbs up on him to get things out of the fridge.

Richard suffers from diastrophic dwarfism – a condition stifling growth and leaving joints malformed which, in Richard’s case, has caused extreme arthritis and double scoliosis of the spine.

He’s suffered a string of health problems, was forced to take a medical retirement in 2006 and needs a specialised wheelchair to support his movement.

But his daughter Cherry hasn’t inherited the condition and now stands just a few inches below him as they’ve formed an incredible bond – sharing and doing just about everything together.

Rich Willis from Driffield, Yorkshire, with daughter Cherry,4, and his wife Charli

Rich Willis from Driffield, Yorkshire, with daughter Cherry,4, and his wife Charli

Richard, who stands at 3ft 8in, said: “Our relationship is really special. It’s unique and I couldn’t be any more proud of her.

“She crouches down to tie my shoe laces because it’s painful for me to do it myself and she climbs up on me every day to take two yoghurts from the top shelf of the fridge for us to eat.

“When she plays with her miniature baking set, it’s the perfect height for me so it even helps when she’s playing with her toys.

“We even wash the dishes together – it’s a real tag-team effort!

“We’re like a little double act – we do everything together and I don’t think we could be any closer.”

Cherry helping her father Rich with his shoe laces

Cherry helping her father Rich with his shoe laces

Richard lives with Cherry and his wife Charli, 30, who works part-time as a benefit assessor for East Riding Council.

When Charli goes to work, Richard and Cherry set off on their day – working together to get jobs done, playing with her toys, going to the park and even cooking together.

Richard’s movement is limited so he uses a hand-trike cycle, a specialised wheelchair, to move around but when he does Cherry rides her bike alongside him.

Cherry was born nine weeks early on June 14 2011, and was only as big as the palm of Richard’s hand at a time when he couldn’t even walk properly.

Richard, who served as the principal head of transport for the city of York from, took a medical retirement.

Rich Willis

Rich Willis

Richard claims that the double scoliosis of his spine caused by the diastrophic dwarfism has altered his walking position and subsequently a string of ongoing back problems.

He was forced to have an operation on his left leg in 2006, his right leg and shoulder in 2008 and his movement has been permanently impaired.

Richard said: “I’ve had some tough times but the birth of my daughter was like a breath of fresh air.

“Because of the operations I had to have it felt a little bit like I was starting out again because I had to teach myself to walk and all sorts but Cherry being around made it so special.

“When she was learning to crawl, I was just learning how to walk again so it really is like we’ve done everything alongside each other.


Richard and Cherry have a unique bond

“It’s a unique bond, there’s no other way to put it.”

Cherry started school for the very first time last week so the father-daughter duo will be spending less time together from now on.

He said: “I’m really proud of her and she seems to have really taken to school life.

“Cherry’s a really confident little girl – probably because of how much time she’s spent in adult company at such a young age.

“She’s really proud of her dad and there’s no issue at all with the other children just because I’m a dwarf.

“I don’t think she could have settled in any better than she has, she’s a lovely girl and we’re so proud of her.”

 Rich, Charli and Cherry on holiday

Rich, Charli and Cherry on holiday