You readers really are a remarkable bunch – last Friday, I featured a couple of images posted on social media by Chris Leggett of the Express & Star, as part of their bid to gain funding to digitise and open to the public their photo archive – a huge treasury of newspaper images that current exist in print form only.
The first image was of a remarkable parachuting accident in 1973, and the second was of a Brownhills chap – Malcolm Wright – riding his bike off a ramp into Stow Pool in Lichfied as part of a regatta event.
The information Chris gave stated:
This is ‘Brownhills Stuntman’ Malcolm Wright riding a bike off a ramp into Stowe Pool, in Lichfield, in 1977 as part of an event referred to as a ‘Regatta’. He was billed as ‘Brownhills answer to Evil Knievel’.
Well, you didn’t disappoint – this afternoon, I had a most excellent email from Brian ‘Clayhanger Kid’ Stringer. Here’s what he had to say:
The cyclist diving headfirst into Stowe Pool was indeed Malcom Wright, and yes he is still alive and kicking. At least he was a couple of hours ago when I was talking to him.
Malc lives in Bridge St Clayhanger and was a neighbour of mine when I lived there in the 70s.
He is a great bloke and always been community spirited, and it was Malc, John Sadler and myself who fought the moving of the refuse tip entrance to the Bridge St High St junction.
We eventually got a dozen households a rate reduction.
Malcolm along with a helper also regularly litter picks all along Clayhanger common and the spot path.
He tells me the bike stunt was part of a fund raising effort for the sailing club of which he was a member, and his son Kevin told me it was the bike he always used for to work . The divers were probably told by Malc to save the bike before him.
Another blog success.
About 90 minutes later, I received this comment from reader Karen:
I think the brownhills stuntman is from Clayhanger. Malcolm Wright lived (still does I believe!) in Bridge St and his kids were about the same age as my brothers so they would be late 40′s now. Malcolm about 70 maybe? Malcolm was renowned for his madcap tricks so I reckon it’s the same man. Brian Stringer might be able to verify it as he lived in Bridge Street for a number of years and would have known Malcolm. Last I heard he still lived in the same house.
Thanks to both of you – this really is wonderful stuff, and exactly the kind of offbeat local history that gets lost. If Malcolm is reading this, please do say hello – and tell us about your exploits. I bet you’ve a story or two to tell!
If you would like to support the Express & Star photo bid, please send a letter of support to: Chris Leggett, Brand and communications manager, Express & Star, 51-53 Queen Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1ES. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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