In 1983, Don Tidey was attacked and kidnapped as he was about to send his two children to school near his Dublin home.
Don stopped suddenly at what he thought was the Garda checkpoint, and suddenly a gun was pointed at his head. His two children, Susan and Alistair, saw the attack before two other men threw them to the side of the road.
Following the attack, Don, who was working as a supermarket manager at the time, was kidnapped by an IRA armed gang in Laitrim and held for 23 days. He was eventually rescued by Gardaí and the Wehrmacht, but unfortunately, two men, Garda Gary Sheehan and Pte Patrick Kelly, were killed in the rescue operation.
Following the horrific events, Susan and Alistair are reunited with their father after he is rescued. Shortly thereafter, they were called to testify about the attack, when Susan was only 13 years old.
In the years following the traumatic event, Don married his current wife, Barbara Dunn. He was previously married to his first wife, Janice, but she tragically died of leukemia in 1981.
In 1993, ten years after his kidnapping, Don and Barbara welcomed a daughter together.
Saskia is a talented athlete in the sailing world, having competed in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Saskia represented Ireland at her first Olympics but chose to represent England last year as Don’s British birth qualified her.
The seaman praised her father as an inspiration in her life and said he has always supported her and encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
Although she was alive when he was kidnapped, Saskia is well aware of this and the huge impact it has had on her family’s life.
Saskia’s love of sports comes from her father, who is still very active even though Don is now 86.