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Tom, 95, tells his tale in poetry book

Author Tom Illingworth, aged 95, is pictured with son James Illingworth (right), aged 64, and a copy of his book at the book signing event held at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind building in Mappin Street.

Author Tom Illingworth, aged 95, is pictured with son James Illingworth (right), aged 64, and a copy of his book at the book signing event held at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind building in Mappin Street.

A Sheffield poet has attended his first ever book signing - at the age of 95.

Tom Illingworth signed copies of his book of poems at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, where he is an active member of the creative writing group.

Readings from his poetry book, entitled ‘Poems of Love and Life’, brought tears to the eyes of many people who attended the signing.

Writing group volunteer Diana Stimely said: “Tom is very old and not very well so it was important to get this book done.

“It’s absolutely wonderful and the book signing will have warmed his heart.”

Tom, of Park Hill, is registered blind and has been a member of the SRSB’s writing group for a number of years.

Every Friday morning, members get together to share their writing at the centre on Mappin Street. Some members type up their work on special computers or typewriters, while others produce their work in Braille.

Diana said: “Tom has always come to the writing group. Right from the first time I met him, he came across as a true Sheffield man.

“When you read some of the things he has written, he is talking about some of the things he has been a part of.

“He is the most romantic man I have ever met. He is so kind and has so many things to say about Sheffield, the war, when he was a child and when he got married.”

Sue Coggin, of the SRSB, added: “Tom is a real inspiration. He brings so much to the group. I have read a number of his poems and they are amazing, covering many of his beliefs and life experiences. He has so much to share.”

The creative writing group, known as the ‘Mappin Writers’, meets weekly on Fridays from 11am to 12.30pm.

The members of the group have varied tastes and writing styles and new members are always welcome.

Every year they give a performance of their work as part of Sheffield’s annual literary festival, Off the Shelf.

n Tom’s book is available from the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Mappin Street, priced £7.99.

n SRSB offers support to blind and partially sighted people in Sheffield.

 

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