Dyslexic ‘Giraffe Man’ publishes book on his life

Dealer David Whitfield has released his second run of his autobiography, "The Sunderland Lad with Two Names".
Dealer David Whitfield has released his second run of his autobiography, "The Sunderland Lad with Two Names".
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FROM diamonds to bric-a-brac, veteran antiques dealer David Whitfield has been unearthing hidden gems for more than two decades.

The 52-year-old, who runs Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and Emporium in Roker Baths Road, Sunderland, has become a well-known figure in the city since he launched his business in 1988.

A regular visitor to car boot sales and auctions, as well as carrying out countless house clearances, he has discovered everything from diamond and gold jewellery to adult magazines from the 1960s.

Now the dad-of-two has recounted his highs and lows as a “junk shop owner” in his autobiography, the Sunderland Lad with Two Names.

“I first became interested in the area when I was 14,” he said. “It kind of just went from there.”

Written and paid for by David, who suffers from dyslexia, the book, which was first released in 2011, is now entering its third print run, and proving a big hit.

“At first, I had 400 printed, then another 400, and now I’m hoping to get another 150 done,” he said. “It’s gone down very well. It was a bit of slog writing it because of my dyslexia, but we got through it.

“I got bits and pieces of it down on paper, and my son somehow managed to make sense of it and pull it together. It turned out really well.”

David is also known as “The Giraffe Man of Roker,” after collecting more than 200 of the stuffed animals. In a tradition dating back to the 1980s, his store always has a model giraffe on show outside.

“There are quite a few good tales in the book, some happy and some sad,” he said. “The business has changed a lot over the years, but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”