Richard to tell tales of wartime

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A STORYTELLER is to pass on tales of wartime triumph and tragedy to future generations to mark a day of remembrance.

Easington Colliery-born Richard O’Neill has been invited to the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester to help lead the events it is holding for the 10th annual Holocaust Memorial Day.

The 48-year-old is a traditional Romany gypsy storyteller who has worked as a community volunteer, trainer, counsellor, consultant and professional speaker.

He also co-founded an organisation which passes on storytelling skills to people.

Richard said: “I’ve always been interested in writing and reading and when I was born in 1962 I was surrounded by storytelling people, from the miners, with their tales from the pit, to members of my family.

“Seven years ago the Imperial War Museum asked me to come along and tell stories and they said ‘we’ll pay you’ and I did it and was asked back.”

Richard will lead the Adventures of Able Seaman Wally Tobin at the venue for the next two Saturdays.

The character comes from a fictional village on the outskirts of South Shields with his story a compilation of humorous and touching tales Richard has heard and added to.

He follows his father into a life down the pit, for his dad to later relent and allow him fulfil his dream and join the Merchant Navy.

He then becomes involved in the Second World War effort – and the on-board antics of his fellow crewmen.