"I AM still alive!" - that's the message Richard Skilbeck wants to share with the people of York.

Richard, also known as Dick to friends, contacted The Press to ask us to let former school friends and sports mates know he was very much still alive - and living in the North East.

The unusual request came after a death notice appeared for his namesake in The Press - and people started giving their condolences to his brother Stephen, who still lives in York.

Richard, now aged 79, said: "Stephen was out and about and two or three times he bumped into people who said: 'I was sorry to hear about Richard'.

"He just laughed and told them: 'I can assure you Richard is still alive'."

Richard attended Tang Hall Primary School, Joseph Rowntree Secondary Modern and York Commercial College.

After leaving school, he worked for the City Architects' department then joined the staff of Westminster Bank in Coney Street followed by two years in Tadcaster, before he was transferred to Newcastle. He continued working in the North East for Nat West until retirement and now lives in Cleadon near Sunderland with his wife of 55 years.

He was a chorister at Holy Trinity Church Heworth, where he was married in 1965.

An avid sportsman, he played football from age 15 with Rowntree YC and cricket for Poppleton Sugar Factory, York, and for Westminster Bank North.

York Press:

Richard, in glasses at the back, appeared in this photo in The Press this month

It was a team photo published in The Press and online earlier this month of Richard and his teammates in Rowntree YC from 1967 that prompted him to make his plea to The Press.

In an email to our letters' editor he wrote: "About this time last year in your obituary column was the death of Richard Skilbeck. While a year or two younger than myself, Skilbeck is not a common surname, and it prompted two or three members of the football and cricket teams I played for, to express their condolences to my younger brother Stephen who resides in York.

"Is there any way you could print a short story which lets friends and acquaintances from my past know that I am still alive?"

Speaking on the telephone, Richard added: "Seeing that photo brought back so many memories and I thought maybe this was the right time to contact The Press and put the record straight."

And he sent us some more photos from his youth and sporting past to share with readers.

He said still regarded York as his home. "I had such happy times in York and I look forward to visiting it again when we can."

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