A FLINTSHIRE man has reflected on 20 years since losing his dad in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Dherran Gilligan was just eight when he lost his dad, Ron, in the events that shook the world.

Ron, originally from Kirkby on Merseyside, was working on the 103rd floor of the 110-floor second World Trade Center when five terrorists crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into it.

He was one of 67 UK victims of the tragedy.

The 43-year-old Evertonian was working as a database analyst for stockbroker Cantor Fitzgerald.

In 2003, Ron's wife, Liz, moved the family back to the UK where they settled in Hawarden.

And 20 years on, one of Ron's three children, Dherran, has reflected on his memories of the events as they unfolded, the immediate aftermath and seeing things in a different perspective as he grew up.

Dherran, who is now a schoolteacher in Stoke-on-Trent, said: "I remember waking up on a normal school day - we lived in Connecticut so my dad had to leave early to commute to New York.

"He gave us a hug and kiss and told us he loved us - as he always did.

"A couple of hours later I remember my mum getting a phone call and then frantically turning on the telly and there it was."

Dherran said the sister of one of his father's colleagues had managed to speak to him asking whether her brother had come into work.

Ron told her, thankfully, he was late for work - and that they were trying to evacuate a pregnant woman.

That was the last time anyone heard from Ron and his remains have never been found.

Dherran said the family had frantically tried contacting the company to ask after Ron, but the switchboards were all engaged, and all trains to New York City had been cancelled as the city went into security lockdown.

"It was just all so disorientating," Dherran said.

"You'd get little pieces of information here and there, but it wasn't until weeks later at a command centre in New York City that the British Council informed us that my father likely wouldn't be coming home."

Dherran said the grief he experienced was heightened by the fact it was public.

"Everyone looked at you and treated you differently," he said.

"Ever since I've almost felt guilty in a way, as other people who suffered loss and the grief haven't had that same outpouring of support and condolence - but every life is worth the same."

The Leader: Dherran Gilligan and dad, Ron.Dherran Gilligan and dad, Ron.

Paying tribute to his father, Dherran said: "I know everyone says this when they lose a loved one - but literally every memory of him I have was a great one.

"He was the most selfless person ever - he had time for anyone.

"Despite working long hours, starting early and getting home late, he still always came to watch me play baseball and coached my football team on a Saturday."

He added: "There are times, good or bad, when I just wish he was here to speak to him. Be it my university graduation day, or if I've had a rough day - sometimes I really do wish he was here and I miss him so much.

"But doing the job I do - especially as I spent two years doing pastoral care - I realise how lucky I was to have the father I did for those first eight years of my life.

"Many children aren't that fortunate.

"I want to be able to use my experience to help others who are suffering grief and times of adversity."

The Leader: Dherran and Ainsley Gilligan, with dad Ron.Dherran and Ainsley Gilligan, with dad Ron.

Ron's two other children, Ashley, 37, and Ainsley, 30, are also honouring their dad's memory.

Ashley is a nurse in the United States, and has recently won an award for her bereavement support she gave to a family, while Ainsley is engaged to be married and lives in Cardiff.

Dherran also shared his thoughts on the Taliban re-takeover of Afghanistan, a country which America and the United Kingdom invaded in 2001 after the Taliban refused to give up Osama Bin Laden - who was behind the 9/11 attacks.

He said: "At the time, I was like 'these are the bad guys who killed my dad', so was fully behind the invasion of Afghanistan.

"But as I've grown up, I've taken a keen interest in world politics - and the situation in Afghanistan is a complete geo-political mess.

"Behind every death statistic, there is a grieving family - and I feel so much for the families of those who were killed in that war.

"I think there has to be a point when American and British soldiers' lives are no longer at risk over there."

He added: "I used to think it was a problem with Islam, and blamed that for what happened - but I've grown to see that it's got nothing to do with religion - it's about power.

"And people like Osama Bin Laden will use anything in order to get it - like using the name of Islam."

Dherran has visited ground zero on more than one occasion to pay his respects to his father, and all those who died in the 9/11 attacks.

He said: "We went there for the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011. That for me was a pretty horrible experience - we were all crammed in like sardines and there were political activists there shouting different things.

"I'm all for the democratic right to speak - but there's a time and a place to express things like that.

"When we have been back when it's just us there - it's comforting and it makes me feel closer to him being in his resting place.

"It's nice to be able to pay my respects to him."