Vale Bart Richardson: WWII veteran and Rotarian, Nelson Bay

LEST WE FORGET: Bart Richardson, Nelson Bay, has died aged 97. He's pictured here in 2011 before travelling to Japan for an apology ceremony. Picture: Fairfax
LEST WE FORGET: Bart Richardson, Nelson Bay, has died aged 97. He's pictured here in 2011 before travelling to Japan for an apology ceremony. Picture: Fairfax

Former prisoner of war and tireless community advocate Bart Richardson has died aged 97.

The Shoal Bay man wrote a book of his World War II experience – including time in Changi – giving much to the community until the end.

“I was only with him last Thursday and he was still trying to organise the war widows event for Anzac Day,” Port Stephens Veterans and Citizens Aged Care chairman Gerry Mohan said.

Mr Richardson was a resident at Harbourside Haven in recent years and a respected member of the Rotary community as a past district governor.  But he only gave away one of his big passions in 2016, teaching children to read. The milestone was recorded in the Examiner last month.

Sally Booth who worked as a learning and support teacher in 2016, ran the Rotary Readers Program and wished to thank volunteers like Mr Richardson.

"The children get so much out of the Rotary reading volunteers coming in," Mrs Booth said.

"Having someone sit with them one on one while they read, helping them develop their reading and comprehension skills, is incredibly invaluable to their learning."

In 2011 Mr Richardson returned to Japan on a reconciliation mission. In turn, Nelson Bay Rotary, host the Consulate-General of Japan, Dr Mashiro Kohara, in 2013.

“He was an out and out gentleman, who’s done so much for Rotary, Legacy and the area’s children, he will be missed,” mr Mohan said.

A service will be held at All Saints Anglican Church, Nelson Bay, 3pm on Friday.