British Wrestlers Reunion
Strengthening the Ring of Friendship

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Basil 'Romany' Riley seriously ill in hospital

(Basil Riley seen here flanked by Pete Roberts and Chris Riley at a recent Reunion)
We have received word here at the Reunion that one of the most recognisable names in wrestling, a man who appeared up and down the UK for over two decades, has been admitted to hospital and is currently in intensive care.

Basil 'Romany' Riley has undergone yet another operation for blocked stomach and bowel linings during which he briefly died but the excellent surgeons and Basils fighting spirit brought him back and whilst he remains in good spirits he is still very ill.

Sadly, due to Basils hospital stay he was unable to attend the Reunions annual Christmas dinner held on the 12th December but both Johnny KIncaid and Frank Rimer have spoken to him and Basil hopes he may get home for Christmas.  Basil sends his love and best wishes to friends and fans for a wonderful Christmas. 

We here at the Reunion send Basil our very best wishes and we hope that he makes a speedy recovery and is soon back to good health.
(Basil Riley at the height of his successful career)

Wrestling Legend Rene Lasartesse passes away

The British Wrestlers Reunion are saddened to hear the news that one of the great legends of wrestling Rene Lasartesse passed away surrounded by his family on Wednesday12th December 2018.

Rene, seen above receiving an award from Tony St Clair at the 2014 Reunion, was one of the great European wrestlers having a career spanning over 35 years.

Rene will be added to the Dressing Room in the Sky on the Reunion website and may he now RIP.

We send our condolences to Renes family and friends at this sad time.

Peter Baines funeral details announced

Following on from the sad and sudden passing of legendary MC and referee Peter Baines his family have confirmed to us his funeral details.

Peters service will take place at The Three Counties Crematorium, Halstead Road, Braintree CM7 5PB on Friday the 21st December 2018 at 3.30pm. There will be a funeral wake afterwards.  Peter will be dressed in his Toastmaster red coat outfit and he will look immaculate in it as he would have wished. Anyone wishing to attend will be most welcome but the family would request notice of intention to attend for catering purposes please.

Peters family are requesting for there to be family flowers only but should you wish to make a donation in memory of Peter, then this can be made to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, which was Peter's chosen charity since his wife Margaret passed away.  Donations can be made online using a credit or debit card at www.chss.org.uk/inmemory or by sending a cheque to Anne Smith, Tribute Giving Manager, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Roseberry House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5EZ. Please quote the Margaret & Peter Baines Tribute Fund.

 

Alternatively you will soon be able to make donations via the undertaker's website, it is in the process of being set up.

Simply visit www.drobinson.co.uk/funeral-offices/braintree click on 'Other Services' to get to the 'In Memory donations page'.


Peters niece Jean has asked us to thank everyone who has sent wishes and wrote the following to us:-


'We have been overwhelmed by the heartfelt tributes for uncle Peter that we have received from his many friends and colleagues. We have found people to be so kind and caring towards him. I have sent flowers to the two ladies who tried to assist him on the day he died - I'm sure there would be those who would have chosen to ignore the fact that he was in distress. Uncle Peter is now down with us in Essex - he actually arrived back here last Thursday, a day before Bill and I came home from our extremely emotional and exhausting sorting of the house and as much of his affairs as we could possibly manage. He is in the care of the undertaker's who have been so helpful and kind and are treating him with the very greatest respect that he deserves'.


Once Peters cremation has taken place his niece states that Peter asked her a long time ago to promise him that when the time came she would take his ashes to the Savernake forest in Wiltshire and scatter them around the same tree where auntie Margaret's ashes were scattered, and this she will do in the New Year.


We are sure that many of the wrestling fraternity will wish to pay their final respects to Peter and that he will get the good send off that his glittering career deserves.

Reunion holds its annual Wrestlers/Officials Christmas dinner

Following on from the hugely successful British Wrestlers Reunion held in August, the Reunion held its annual Wrestlers/Officials only Christmas Dinner on Wednesday 12th December.

The dinner was hosted by Wayne and Sarah Bridges at the home of the Reunion, The Bridges, and as you can see from the above photo many great legends of the ring were in attendance and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

More photos from the dinner can be seen in the Photo Galleries section under Ad Hoc photos right here on the website.

The above photo shows Sarah Bridges, Wayne Bridges, Ian Muir, Mel Stuart, Bobby Barnes, Steve Grey, Johnny Kidd,Lee Bronson, Frank Rimer Johnny Kincaid, Mal Sanders, Keith Haward and Bobby Stafford.

Exotic Adrian Street action figure now available

Over the years one of the most popular wrestling related items for sale have been action figures of many of your favourite wrestlers.  Now, one of the Worlds most flamboyant wrestlers, the Exotic Adrian Street, has finally got his own figure and these are now available.

Having been on the market for only a few weeks these action figure have been selling like hot cakes and with Christmas just a week or so away what a great present for your wrestling mad loved one or indeed as a gift for yourself.  We know that many people collect these action figures and no collection would be complete without your own Exotic Adrian Street.

The Adrian Street action figure can be purchased via ebay for £20.00 plus £4.45 postage and packing or by contacting Adrian Street direct via his facebook page.  If you would like your action figure signed then please let Adrian know and he will be happy to oblige.

There are a limited number of the Adrian Street action figures available so get yours before they are all gone.
(Promote your own bouts with your own Adrian Street action figure.  Adrian is seen here against Randy 'Macho Man' Savage)

Dynamite Kid funeral details announced

Following on from the sad passing last week of Tommy 'Dynamite Kid' Billington, his funeral details have now been confirmed.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday 18th December at 12.00 (noon) at Wigan Crematorium, Warrington Rd, Lower Ince, Ince-in-Makerfield, Wigan WN3 4NH.

All are welcome to attend to pay their respects to one of the Worlds greatest wrestlers and we are certain that the wrestling fraternity will turn out in force to say a final farewell to Tommy.

Wrestling Photographer Tony Knox donates kidney to sister

The name Tony Knox may not be one that is widely known around the wrestling fraternity although his work certainly is as he is one of the leading wrestling photographers in the UK today.

Tony over the last few years has travelled the UK photographing wrestling shows for various promoters who use his work as promotional material for their promotion.  Tony has also had many of his photographs used by wrestling publications around the World and is one of the first names called on when a promoter wishes he show to be professionally photographed.

Tony has, for a short period, now stepped away from his photography duty but for a very good cause as he has gone beyond the cause by donating one of his kidneys to his sister Amanda who needed a transplant as a matter of urgency.  The surgery has gone well and both are expected to make a full recovery.

We at the British Wrestlers Reunion send our best wishes to Tony and Amanda and wish them both a speedy recovery.

Wrestling Promoter and Commentator Peter William passes away

We are saddened to hear that  European catch wrestling has lost one of its most outstanding personalities.


The "Wrestling Pope" Peter William passed away  on Tuesday 11th December 2018 in his home country lienz (Austria).


Peter William was responsible for the success of catch wrestling in the German-speaking area as a kamp ladder, and was also a hugely successful Promoter, director and television announcer for decades.


Peter was a legend in every sense of the word, he was a true gentleman and will be missed by everyone who knew and respected him for his decades in the wrestling industry.


We send our condolences to Peters family and friends at this sad time and may he now RIP.

Tommy Billington aka Dynamite Kid passes away aged 60

The British Wrestlers Reunion are deeply saddened to hear of the death on Wednesday 5th December of Tommy Billington aka The Dynamite Kid.

Tommy, who would have been celebrating his 60th birthday on the day of his passing, was one of the greatest wrestlers of his or any other generation and had success around the World winning multiple championships in the UK, Japan, Canada and the USA in both singles and tag team competition.

Although Tommy had suffered from ill health for many years his death has shocked the wrestling world but he has left a legacy that will never be forgotten.  Tributes have poured in from around the World with kind words and memories of this great wrestler.

Tommy will be added to the Dressing Room in the Sky and his obituary has also been added to the relevant section.  We hear at the Reunion send our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time, may he now RIP.

The Reunion remembers Giant Haystacks on the 20th anniversary of his death

Giant Haystacks was born Martin Ruane in London to Irish parents.  Once leaving school, the larger than life lad took some early jobs as a builder and inevitably a bouncer before finding his true calling of Professional Wrestling in 1967.  


Ruane initially started wrestling for independent promoters using the ring name of Luke McMasters (who many thought was his real name) later changing this to Haystacks Calhoun (after the American wrestler of the same name) finally settling on the name of Giant Haystacks.


In 1975 Haystacks joined the well established Joint Promotions where he was immediately put into a tag team with Big Daddy. The team had a two year run but eventually it was decided that they would be disbanded and Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy started what was to become one of the biggest feuds in British wrestling history lasting from 1977 until Big Daddys retirement in 1993. During its time on ITV, wrestling attracted an average of around  10 million viewers weekly and Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks matches (usually in tag team action) always got huge viewing figures making Giant Haystacks a household name across the globe.  His sheer girth at 6'11 tall and weighing in at a mammoth 49 stones at his heaviest made him one of the most popular fixtures on television.  


Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s Haystacks was a frequent visitor abroad and had successful tours of America, Canada and was a regular competitor at the German and Austrian tournaments where, in 1982 he was declared the overall winner of the Graz tournament. 


Such was his impact at the time, fans of 'stacks' as he was affectionately known in the Business, included Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney and singing star Frank Sinatra who said after meeting Haystacks said that "British Wrestlers are the best entertainers in the world".  Giant Haystacks was also offered various television roles from adverts (Skips Crisps), appearing on the childrens television show Tiswas and a television play entitled Send in the Girls (written by former wrestler Leon Arras/Brian Glover.)


In 1995 Haystacks was approached by WCW in the USA where he appeared as "Loch Ness" and where he was scheduled to do battle with the American legend Hulk Hogan, unfortunately the match never took place as shortly after his debut for WCW the Giant was diagnosed with Cancer and had to retire from the ring. 


He bravely fought the disease for over two years, at one point sure that he had beaten the scurge, having trimmed his weight to just 26 stone,  before sadly dying aged just 52 on Sunday 29th November 1998. 


Giant Haystacks will always be fondly remembered by the fans and his fellow workers as a quiet man with a dry sense of humour, a true legend who will never be forgotten.


On the 20th anniversary of his untimely passing the British Wrestlers Reunion remember this giant of the wrestling ring in more ways than one.

Peter Baines, legendary Master of Ceremonies, passes away

We are deeply saddened to have to announce the death of legendary wrestling Master of Ceremonies Peter Baines who has paased away at his home in Scotland.

Peter was the true gentleman of professional wrestling and was respected by all who knew him.  Each and every year Peter would travel from his home in Scotland to be with us in Kent and this year we were privileged to present him with our highly acclaimed Ring of Friendship Award something of which he stated he was truly honoured to receive.  Peter was also named President of the Scottish Wrestlers Reunion and whilst his tenure was to be a short one it was something again he was very honoured to hold. 

Peter has been added to the Dressing Room in the Sky and his funeral deatils will be posted as soon as these have ben arranged this will be held in Essex so it will take some time to organise.

Our sincere condolences go to Peters family and friends at this very sad time and may he now rest in peace.

Below are a number of tributes already received on the anouncement of Peters death:-


Frank Rimer A truly wonderful gentle man and an awesome MC in his day. Peter was 90 last year but still flew all the way from his home in Scotland , bringing his usual magnum of champagne as a raffle gift to officiate at the Kent Reunion. My utmost respect and sincerest condolences to his Family on this terribly sad day so near to Christmas.

Tony StClair Very sad ! A true Gentleman!

Bob Barratt A real gentleman. Will be sorely missed.

Tony Costas My condolence to his family
RIP

Mac Hardiman Another top class professional and a true gentleman God bless you Peter RIP my friend.

Lee Canderton Very sad news. Rest in peace Peter.
It was an honour to present this lovely man with a special 'Ring of Friendship' award at this year's Kent reunion.

Tony Banger Walsh Rest in peace ,banger

Keith Myatt Very sad Peter was a lovely man.

Bob Bartholomew Very very sad, a gentleman

Sue Riley RIP Peter. Loved our catch ups at reunions. True gent. Nipper

Paul Harrisson-Sandra Harrisson Sad sad news R. I. P. MY FRIEND

Andrew Bryden I'm so sorry to hear of Peter's passing, he was a real gent and a lovely man. He will be sadly missed. Andra x

Clive Williams Rest in Peace Peter.

Barry Howard This has saddened me . I always had time for Peter and loomed forward to seeing him at the reunions

Jayne Porter Awwww how sad. Lovely gent always and a great MC/Referee spent many shows in his company up in Scotland. 😔

Gordon Pryor RIP Peter you were a true gentleman and liked by everyone

Roy Chamberlain Rip Peter

Nigel Hanmore Blesses his heart Peter was such a gent and a great MC RIP

Gordon Pryor RIP Peter. you were a true gentleman liked by everone

John Searle R.I.P Sir

Mark Atkin RIP Peter!

John Davidson A legend Peter Baines true gentleman will be missed by all...my thoughts are with his family and friends R I P ..Peter♥️♥️😢😢😢😢

Sanjay Bagga What a lovely man he was. Very sad news

Bob Smith So sad to hear, my thoughts and prayers and condolences to Peter and also to his family R.I.P. Peter.

John Hutchinson Very sad news. I remember chatting with him at some length in The Bridges Inn at the first Kent reunion I went to. A lovely, friendly man....RIP Peter :(

Carol Betchley Sad day, RIP Peter

John Hummerston Lovely man RIP sir

Geoff Hyland RIP Peter

Paul Dougie Douglas RIP Friend of wrestling.

Tony Scarlo A gentleman well liked by all. RIP Peter

Peter Nulty Sad news. Rest In Peace Peter.

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