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Anthony Joseph Locke (Tony) The Storyteller


Gortaroe, Westport, Co Mayo

Tony lost his fight with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, he died on Monday, July 13, 2020, aged 65 years. Tony’s earliest memories were of Westport, playing in the lane, (Church Lane) with Nan Horan and Frank Moran outside grandads place, (Thomas Ruddy RIP) or out at the house in Rosbeg with mammy Ruddy (Lillian Ruddy RIP). He loved Westport and the stories they told him. His parents took him to Old Trafford in Manchester where he lived with his sisters Maureen Kennedy (RIP), Patricia Hodson, Caroline (Lillian) Hassall and Bernadette McNally, sadly, another sister, Elizabeth Locke died soon after birth.
While working as a lifeguard at Urmston Baths (Swimming pool), Tony met his wife of 43 years, Gaynor. Within two years they had bought a house, got married and had their first daughter, Angela (Locke Reilly) and went on to have another daughter Amanda Locke. Tony touched many lives, indeed he also saved lives as a lifeguard, work medic and whilst he was a member of the Red Cross in Manchester. Tony moved to a job in Trafford Park and after 15 years finished there as Transport Manager to return home to Ireland.
Twenty-eight years ago, he moved in with his family into Gortaroe. They had another daughter Siobhán Locke and their family was complete. He worked at first with others and then in 1994 started his own Painter/Decorator business. Something he had done part time in England. In 2005 he fell from a ladder and badly damaged his leg and back, this put paid to his business. However Tony was good at reinventing himself. He started doing different courses and the culmination of this was in 2012 when he obtained his honours degree in Heritage Studies. During his course he had started writing his books. He wrote “Mayo Folk Tales”, “Irish Ghost Tales: And Things that go Bump in the Night” and “Tales of the Irish Hedgerow”. The publisher (The History Press) is republishing his last book as a paper back and has recently published “The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales” in which Tony features as the contributor of the tale for Mayo. He also wrote pieces for various publications and his blog/Facebook under the name Tony Ruddy-Locke. He was the Storyteller on Westport Community Radio and did storytelling in different venues and schools. He was also known to put on a red suit at Christmas to help the main man. This was his job for local schools, various venues, Westport Singers, AIRC Mayo and AIRC Midlands for many years. A job he loved and he even incorporated Irish Sign Language. He was The Storyteller for five years on Westport Radio and was first to revitalise story telling in Westport. Tony was a storyteller for many years, long before he was an author and an official Storyteller, it was in the blood.
He leaves behind a legacy with his books and podcasts though his best legacy is his children and grandchildren, Jake, Calum, Bronwyn and Mikey.
This obituary is his story, and as Tony would say, pull up a chair, and sit a while, you’re never too old for a story.