June 29, 2017 @ 14:35 by Alison Cowie
In the early 90’s Richard Clark and Tor Alexander Bruce were two South Tyneside-based teenagers just beginning to make their way in a reality which saw one embark on a journey into the private sector, and the other into third sector.
Fast-forward too many years to mention and the two have driven their career-paths in very different directions. Richard is a Chartered Wealth Manager at Barclays Wealth, responsible for providing holistic wealth management advice to a select number of high net worth clients, whilst Tor, having been engaged as a charity Founder and CEO since 2001, directed a documentary in 2012, has just written a book, entitled The Suicide Fight.
What’s the link?
The two met again via social media’s Linked In, where Richard’s social conscience online-approached Tor to ask if his experience could be of any assistance to his philanthropic endeavours. Six months later, collaboration emerged, with Barclays Wealth match-funding a project which will no doubt resonate with many across the North East.
Tor explains, “Richard was a good guy from my youth; one of those characters you sensed had the tenacity to drive himself toward a career path with merit. We first began discussing a book I’d been working on after sharing brunch on the Quayside in Newcastle. It became evident that there was potential to launch the work and develop an initial print-run with greater numbers than I was capable of as a solo-venture. The first-edition run was 24 copies. Publishing is a steady, meticulous process and it has taken a full year to get the book to a stage where it can now be recognised via the computers in Waterstones, through Nielsen’s who issue the ISBN codes. Then there was the barcoding and the design and edit, re-edit and further editing, as any writer will likely empathise with. My career path began in Journalism and writing has continued as a passion since the age of 14.”
The Suicide Fight is a 100-page book, documenting the journey through a part-factual, part-fictional narrative, of a character called The Hermit, the pseudonym of an author who penned, literally, twelve full works in total.
Richard said, “It was quite an extraordinary first encounter after many years without contact. We met for coffee then took a walk up to Newcastle’s fantastic Literary and Philosophical Society. Tor completed the final edit of his book there and I’ve visited periodically when I was studying or in need of some solace away from the office. I was impressed and almost envious by the path Tor’s life had taken, not least because of his entirely selfless nature had devoted his life to assisting others. Given the fact that I still get my ‘buzz’ from the feeling that I have added value or helped someone, there were many synergies even though our expertise is very different.”
Together, Tor and Richard organised a two day beach volleyball event in their hometown of South Shields in order to raise funds and awareness in support of ‘The Suicide Fight’. Despite the weather the turnout was quite overwhelming and yet again demonstrated that the vast majority of people have an in built desire to help others.
The print-run will be available via bookstores and the charity’s website at www.thesuicidefight.com which is under development in 2017.