Hi DebbieL1. I'm glad to hear that you have got access to your emails again.
But please remember that email is intended for the exchange of messages . The clue is in the name. It is not designed for the permanent storage of decades of important records. You really should copy these somewhere else more secure.
I am really pleased that you got this sorted and I'm glad we could help point you in the right direction,
I know you are pleased that you have got your email account back but I would politely suggest that you need to think about whether you should continue to use it as your man email account. Think about this:
It will always be your dad's account not yours, so any issues you have with it in the future will require your dad to contact VM because he is their customer not you.
I am sure you trust your dad and that you get on well with him, but remember that he has control of the account, he can change the password, he could even look at your emails if he really wanted to.
At some point your parents may think about moving to another internet provider (there are big price increases coming up for VM customers) and you would then be faced with losing your email account because of it. Would that cause friction in the family?
On another tack, VM email is, let's say, a bit flakey. You have seen that your email was locked by VM and many people are having that often multiple times. Also, it is very basic and there are much better email services freely available.
Also, you mention your account may have been hacked, VM email is not very secure. There are many posts on here where VM customers have had their accounts hacked along with a linked online account such as Amazon. Other email services provide much better security.
Personally I have been with VM since before they were VM but I have never used their email as my main email account. I would strongly recommend that you look at the many free services available (see https://www.lifewire.com/best-free-email-accounts ). Personally I have used Gmail for several years but the main ones I would recommend would be Gmail, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail) and Protonmail.
I had used the same email address for nearly 20 year but when I retired I decide to change. I can honesty say it's not that painful if you can do it over a period of time. I updated each of my online accounts a few at a time and I kept both email accounts running for a while to make sure I did not miss anything.
I think I have probably gone on too long on this subject so I'll stop there.😉
Yes, you're right and thanks for your suggestions. I'll keep my ntlworld account as the default for the moment, but I've copied all my existing emails to an Outlook account (which was WAY more complicated than it should be) and set up an auto-forwarding rule for new incoming emails. However, when I tried sending a test message from a work account, the forwarding didn't seem to work (I'm probably just missing something really obvious).
Sorted: it was being forwarded, but going straight into the Junk folder. I'll keep this setup for now, and see about gradually migrating some of my online services to the Outlook account as you suggested.
Many thanks to everyone in this thread who offered their help!