RODNEY Hallam has always had a way with words.

The 78-year-old from Bradford, lost his beloved wife, Barbara, to cancer in 2011 and has since used his poetry skills to help the charity that supported his wife.

“My wife had cancer and they were very good. They came and collected us and took us to hospital many times and never asked for a penny,” explains Rodney.

Cancer Support Yorkshire is an independent charity based in Bradford and Skipton offering practical help and support to those affected by cancer and their families.

This year the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary and it is because of supporters such as Rodney that the charity has survived and is able to commemorate such a significant milestone in its history.

‘Memories of Childhood 1940-1956’ are anecdotes of Rodney’s life which he initially penned for his own family.

Rodney who previously worked in an administration role for a financial institution and a firm of accountants explains how reading fundraising stories in the charity’s magazine inspired him to get involved.

“I noticed in the magazine that people were doing different things for Cancer Support. People were running races and I thought of the way they had helped us in our situation - if there was anything I could possibly do.

“At that time I was writing a book of poetry for my children about my early days. I thought if I made it into a talk.”

Rodney discussed his idea with the charity and was encouraged to do it - so he did and with great success.

“It has escalated since then by word of mouth and also by the leaflets I distribute,” says Rodney.

Rodney explains how his talks are reminiscences of his childhood, entertaining generations who can often relate to that time.

His memories include the end of the Second World War.

“I go back to my childhood and how I saw things through the eyes of a child like VJ day. I go back to my experience which was the first time I went on a train. I had never been on a train before and people were excited about VJ day but I was excited about being on a train”

Rodney also talks about his memories at the end of the war and of the excitement of Christmas. “At the end of the war I talk about when I was at school and we all stayed in the central hall and sang ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ and he came because he was the star of the show. We made our trimmings from discarded wallpaper.”

Rodney also talks about the bad winter in 1947. “We had snow on the ground for months.”

And of holidays..... “Going to Blackpool when it was a long way and how we went on a coach.”

Wash day and contraptions such as scrubbing brushes and mangles and the stodgy food, prunes and figs also form part of Rodney’s fascinating look back at life as he and others lived it back in the day.

“We only had chicken at Christmas,” recalls Rodney.

Fashion was another childhood memory..... “We were in short pants up to 13 and if it was cold you were shivering in your short pants.

Rodney’s other talk relates to his roots as a Lancastrian living in Yorkshire. “It is Yorkshire through the eyes of a Lancastrian,” he explains.

He also talks of his early years growing up within the grounds of the Altham family home where his grandfather was the gardener. His father was in the local police.

Since Rodney started doing his talks in 2013 he has spoken to many organisations, including local Rotary clubs and Mens Forums, in his home city, Keighley, Leeds, Halifax and Skipton.

“I go to a lot of different churches and I have been to the U3A,” he says referring to the organisation which has provided him with one of his enjoyable pastimes.

He enjoys walking with the Bradford U3A but the rest of his time is taken up fundraising for Cancer Support Yorkshire.

So far Rodney has raised an incredible £3,151 in donations from his talks for the charity.

Linda Enderby, community engagement officer at Cancer Support Yorkshire, says: “Rodney is such an inspiration, most people of his age are slowing down but not him. I doubt anything will stop him from doing what he loves for the charity that is so close to his heart.”