I was very interested to read John Appleyard’s letter in the Guardian regarding Peter Preston who I knew through my wrestling years at the Hilltop Wrestling Club.
I first met Peter in the early 1950s and then later around 1965 when we were both training at the Hilltop Club at Dudley Hill, Bradford. This was strictly an amateur wrestling and weight-lifting club and ground for any professional career. Quite a few well-known wrestlers trained there, the Taylor brothers being among them.
I do recall training with Peter and accidentally breaking his arm very badly. This upset the start of his career a little as he had just signed to go professional. Peter took it all in his stride but I felt really badly about this, but of course these things happened.
The Hilltop club closed in 1968 and I then trained at the Leeds Athletic Club which was run by an ex-pro, Jack Taylor. Lots of pre wrestlers trained there, in fact I do recall wrestling Harvery Smith when he ventured into wrestling! Also Ray Steel and Shirley Crabtree trained there.
I am so pleased that John Appleyard has shown an interest in Peter’s career and it has brought back many happy memories for me. They were wonderful happy years. I was welter-weight just like Peter but drew the line at going professional. I did it just to keep fit and even now I still train at home in my little gym room, but, I must add, I am a little slower now.
I lost touch with Peter over the years, even though I only live locally. I do recall that he was a really nice guy and we have many good laughs together. Also he was a very good wrestler and we, too, loved to watch him on TV.
Oh, happy days.