How we use Cookies

Gay dads spark fury over website

A GAY millionaire couple - who hit the headlines by becoming Britain's first openly homosexual surrogate dads - have sparked outrage after putting images of their three children on a website used for dating.

A GAY millionaire couple - who hit the headlines by becoming Britain's first openly homosexual surrogate dads - have sparked outrage after putting images of their three children on a website used for dating.

Barrie Drewitt, 39, and his partner, Tony Barlow, 42, who made legal history seven years ago while living at their sprawling £4m Sandholes farmhouse on London Road in Adlington, have been blasted by children's groups after posting shots of their six-year-old twins and three year-old on www.Gaydar.co.uk .

The couple state they are not advertising for sex on the site - which is regularly used by some homosexuals to find new partners, network and offer escort services - but to make contact with gay and lesbian people in Essex, where they now live.

Among the pictures is one showing two of the children with the men at their civil partnership ceremony earlier this year, a lavish affair in Essex attended by 250 guests, and another shows Tony with his daughter with the caption "Me and My Girl".

On the same page, the Manchester-born couple who have been together for 18 years and now live in Essex, have also listed the types of men they like as "firemen, married men, muscle men and rugby players".

Child support groups have hit out at the couple who, they say, have acted "foolishly" without taking into consideration the needs of the children.

Head of Child Protection Awareness at the NSPCC, Chris Cloke, said: "In situations like this the needs of the children involved must be of paramount concern. The NSPCC has child protection concerns about putting images of children on websites, as this could leave them vulnerable to being identified and being harmed."

The founder of Kidscape, Michelle Elliot, also warned against the danger of paedophiles who surfed the net for images of children and also criminals seeking to identify the kids of wealthy parents.

She said: "The children are not old enough to say that it is okay to use their pictures."

The couple who used to live in a £4million mansion in Adlington where they hired two nannies to take care of their children, have recently returned from Spain where they have lived for three years. And this week they defended their actions and claimed they were merely showing the family as "a responsible gay family unit".

In an email they said: "We are not advertising for sex, like many people on the site, just making contact with other gay and lesbian people in the Essex area.

"Since joining Gaydar, we have chatted to several other gay families in the south east who have been using this internet tool to make contact with other families and sharing our experiences.

"As always our main concern is for the safety of our children."

The couple were the first in Britain to become surrogate fathers - spending a whopping £700,000 in America. The children share the same biological mother, Tracie McCune, who was one of several female "man-maids" at the civil partnership of Barrie and Tony last year. The twins were the first children in Britain to have two fathers and no mother on their birth certificate and were christened at Danbury in Essex wearing matching Christian Dior robes.

The couple had retired after the sale of a dermatological testing company for £4million but have since reinvested £2.5m in Euroderm Research which has a string of medical research centres in Britain, Poland, Spain and America.

 

Journalists

Rhiannon McDowall
Education reporter
Mike Glendinning
Sport reporter
Chris Slater
News reporter
Stuart Greer
Crime reporter
Karen Britton
Wilmslow and Alderley Edge reporter
Ben Turner
News reporter
Vic Barlow
Columnist