SAS hero and best-selling author Chris Ryan hopes to inspire children to pick up a book when he drops into the city next month.
Mr Ryan, who won the Military Medal following his daring Bravo Two Zero escape in Iraq, is giving a talk about his life in the service and as a writer at Bishopgarth Police Training College on Sunday, September 16 at 6pm.
Mr Ryan, 51, will also be promoting his new book Osama, which tells the story of an SAS soldier whose life is turned upside down after being caught up in the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.
Mr Ryan has written more than 20 books, including a series of children’s novels. He is expecting a mixed audience for his talk of adults and children looking to a career in the military.
The US based-author told the Express: “What I try and do is to try and encourage as many young kids coming to the events to get them reading.”
He said the number of children not reading is increasing.
In the past few years he has launched Operation Read with the National Literacy Trust to encourage youngsters to pick up a book.
He said: “I’m in a privileged position now because once you are in a certain industry it’s important to put something back.
“Some have never read a book front to back, some have difficulty in reading.”
He said computer games and TV were distractions which needed to be combated.
He added: “If it goes on we are going to have people who are in their 20s who can’t read. What future are they going to have.”
Mr Ryan is the seventh such SAS event at Bishopgarth. Andy McNab has been twice and so have veterans from the Iranian Embassy Siege, the Falklands conflict, the Northern Ireland troubles and other conflicts.
Money raised from those events went to various charities including Help For Heroes and Allied Special Forces Memorial Grove. But money raised from the Chris Ryan event will go to the Hazel Woodhams memorial.
Miss Woodhams was as a Scene of Crimes Officer for West Yorkshire Police who died in 2011.
Tickets for the event cost £10. They are available by calling 07564 293 449 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org