Travelling author is inspired by his youth

Children's author Richard O'Neill
Children's author Richard O'Neill
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A travelling author who spent his youth in Blackpool has penned two new books inspired by the resort he loves.

Born in a caravan to a Romany family, Richard O’Neill, 54, spent much of his childhood travelling around the north.

His new children’s books ‘Yokki and the Parno Gry’ and ‘Ossiri and the Bala Mengro’ are based on stories he was told around the campfire during his yearly summer visits to Blackpool.

He said: “Blackpool is one of the places travelling people have visited for hundreds of years. It’s a place that is very close to my heritage.

“It’s such a happening place. It was the Las Vegas of the day, bringing lots of people from all over the country, and they all brought amazing stories with them.”

Yokki and the Parno Gry follows the story of a young boy named Yokki, whose travelling family is saved by a magical white beast called the Parno Gry, while Ossiri and the Bala Mengro follows a girl, Ossiri, whose music helps her befriend an ogre.

They are aimed at children aged four to nine-years-old.

Richard, who still travels today giving lectures at universities all over the country, said: “I would love to return to Blackpool and speak with schools there.

“The time is right because there has been a lot of things on television about travellers that aren’t very good. It’s important that we celebrate our history and show the good we can do.”

Richard’s books are available in all good book shops and on Amazon or through his website