A television actor from Walthamstow who was subjected to years of racially-motivated bullying has penned a children’s book based upon his personal experiences.
Vimal Vaz, 44, of Stow Crescent was singled out by classmates at his secondary school based in Hackney because of his skin colour and a hearing impairment.
Now, after thirty years, the Kenyan-born father-of-one has written, illustrated and released 'Nicky NoFace and The Face Critters' - a children's fantasy book celebrating diversity, the importance of identity, and the emotional consequences of bullying.
He said: "Nicky NoFace is about the joys of being different and about learning to accept that no-one, nowhere, is 'normal'.
"It is a sad fact that bullying can never be stamped out completely. Individuals who look or sound different from the crowd are, and probably always will be, singled-out by the ignorant few.
"But it is my sincere hope that the book will give children the courage and self-conviction to take a passive stand against their aggressors by loving themselves, by ignoring the ignorant, and by refusing to become a statistical victim."
Mr Vaz, who has enjoyed professional success as a pilot, recording studio owner, cab driver, actor and author of three adult novels, devised the story after the birth of his daughter in 1990.
His most well-known role involved playing a doctor in the BBC soap Casualty a few years ago but has recently landed a role in a short feature film shot in the Bethnal Green area and due to be released later this year.
The book, aimed at children aged eight and over, will be part of a sequel and Mr Vaz is already is talks with a producer about adapting the novels for TV animation.
In the mean time, he hopes to stock 'Nicky NoFace' in school libraries across East London.
He added: "There are other books about bullying, of course.
"But Nicky NoFace is the first of its kind to focus upon identity and self-worth.
"I hope that local schools, and perhaps local councils, recognise the valuable contribution it can make to the lives of young people in the region."