When Gareth Watkins said goodnight to his two-year-old daughter Taryn on the evening of April 8, 2015, little did he know it would be his last conversation with her.

Just 30 minutes later the toddler would become unresponsive and need urgent CPR from paramedics before being taken to hospital where nothing could be done to save her life.

Six years on and Gareth still has no idea why his precious little girl was taken away from him so suddenly and prematurely.

"We're never going to know how she died now. It's something we'll have to learn to live with," said Gareth.

"It was recorded on the death certificate as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as they could find no infections, bacteria or viruses.

"Perhaps comfort isn't the right word, but at least we know she wasn't suffering with any illnesses or pain that we didn't know about."

Taryn Watkins, from Treharris, was two years old when she died suddenly
Gareth Watkins

Taryn, who loved Peppa Pig, was complaining of feeling "slightly under the weather" on the day she died and was given Calpol before being cwtched on the sofa and taken to bed.

Gareth, from Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil, said his daughter was happily watching a DVD in her cot just minutes before she took a dramatic turn for the worse.

He said: "I was doing some work on my laptop in our bedroom, and when I finished I poked my head round the door just to check she was okay and she said she was.

"I said 'Daddy's going downstairs now, Taryn. Love You', to which she replied 'Love you, Daddy'.

"Little did I know then that this was the last conversation we'd ever share."

Taryn Watkins died suddenly at her Treharris home at the age of two

After eating their dinner, mum Gemma went up to check on Taryn for a second time when she discovered she was not responding to her.

"I'm pretty sure I had called 999 before she had finished shouting," Gareth added.

Within minutes the Welsh Ambulance Service had arrived at their home and performed CPR on the toddler.

"The next few minutes seemed like an eternity," he added.

"Along with paramedics, our house was filled with police as they did everything they could to help Taryn.

"We knew it was serious as we weren't even allowed to go in the ambulance to the hospital and were taken in the police car that accompanied the ambulance."

After a short time at Prince Charles Hospital, Gareth and Gemma were ushered into a small room and told their daughter had died.

"There was no more they could do for our baby girl. The bottom literally fell out of my world," Gareth added.

"All I remember is screaming out and being unable to cry, wishing I could take Taryn's place and let her live her life."

Medics at the hospital removed the tubes and implements surrounding Taryn before the parents were allowed to see her and say their goodbyes.

"That's when the reality started to hit home that she was gone. We then went back into the small room so they could explain what would happen next."

Taryn with her big sister Lyla

The grieving couple were given information by bereavement charity 2 Wish Upon a Star as well as new pyjamas for Taryn, a memory box and a cuddly elephant which was given to her big sister Lyla.

They were also provided with counselling by the charity which Gareth said helped them come to terms with what had happened.

He admitted that he initially struggled to come to terms with his daughter's death and support his family at the same time.

"As the father you're supposed to be the protector. You're supposed to be the one who stays strong. I was just trying to keep it together for them. It was hard," he admitted.

"It would have been easy to shut down, but that wouldn't have been fair on Lyla. I never thought I'd be the sort of person who would need counselling, but it did help.

"I can honestly say I don't know how we would have made it through without the help and ongoing support of 2 Wish Upon A Star."

To mark the sixth anniversary of Taryn's death, Gareth decided to raise money for 2 Wish by taking on a 865-mile bike ride - the equivalent road distance between John O'Groats and Land's End.

He started his journey, which was a mixture of indoor and community riding due to Covid-19 restrictions, on March 1 and completed it on Easter Sunday. To donate, please go here.

"Our initial plan was to do a family bike ride for the fifth anniversary of her death from Prince Charles Hospital down to the 2 Wish offices. We had a route planned and people could join in for a couple of miles here and there. But then everything kicked in with Covid and there was no chance of us doing it.

"Then about Christmas time last year I felt like I wanted to do something for the sixth anniversary. It was no good planning anything with other people or even an outdoor route as we didn't know what restrictions would be in place, so I came up with something that I could still do. I did some riding coming home from work, and then some at home in the evenings.

"Taryn was in my thoughts the whole time."

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Gareth, who has now raised more than £900 for 2 Wish from the challenge, said: "You get better at coping with it but I don't think it ever gets easier.

"But when you do these events you get to see how much 2 Wish has grown, because we were involved with them very early on."

He concluded: "We talk about Taryn every day. She was fiery, feisty, she never took a backward step. She was unique and we couldn't be more proud of her."