Standing well over six feet tall meant that Ray Diamond was a man not easily messed with in either the classroom or the wrestling ring.
At Ferryhill Grammar School he was PE teacher Mr Glasper (Ian) but once in the ring he was transformed into Ray Diamond, the popular Middlesborough wrestler trained by British mid heavyweight champion Norman Walsh at the St Lukes Amateur Wrestling Club.
Popular, that is,unless it was one of the nights that he donned a mask and the character of the White Angel, aided by his female assistant in her revealing costume. We are still searching for a photo of Ray Diamond the good guy, but in the meantime have come across this one of the masked Ray as the White Angel with the lovely Yvonne.
When neither wrestling nor teaching Ray could be found promoting wrestling throughout the north east.
( Write up courtesy of Wrestling Heritage)
10.41 Monday 9th January 2012
A GENTLE giant who went from being a professional wrestler to a committed carer has died.
Ian Glasper also supplied the world’s first white football boots.
Mr Glasper died on Wednesday after becoming ill while driving his car in Westgate, Weardale, County Durham.
The 73-year-old grandfather, from Ireshopeburn, in Upper Weardale, was described as a gentle giant and larger-than-life character by those who knew him.
Mr Glasper started wrestling in the Durham Light Infantry before deciding to take it up professionally.
He juggled touring the country with work as a PE teacher at Ferryhill Grammar School between 1964 and 1974, before setting up his own wrestling company, Europa Promotions.
His wrestling career took him from fairgrounds to arenas and he worked with stars including Big Daddy, Luke McMasters and Gil Singh.
He was good friends with Harold Sakata, better known as Oddjob in the James Bond movie Goldfinger, and worked in the film industry as a fight co-ordinator on Big Man, which starred Liam Neeson.
Mr Glasper also set up Dunelm Sports Ltd which, while working for Hummel, provided the world’s first white football boots to Everton star Alan Ball.
Mr Glasper is survived by his wife, Marjorie, to whom he was married for 53 years, their daughter, Suzanne, and grandson William.
The family had just moved back into their home after the property was flooded by a ruptured main water pipe in August, severely damaging the ground floor and garden and destroying many items of sentimental value.
Ms Glasper said her father would do anything to help anyone.
She said: “He cared a lot about people and was a very strong character and person. He was a very popular man and was always interested in sports – right from his school days.
“It was just in his character to help people, he enjoyed it. PE and teaching were a big part of his life and he was particularly good with children who had behavioural problems.”
Tributes were also paid to Mr Glasper by his former boss and those who knew him through wrestling.
Philip Shellhorn, from Ferryhill, who was inspired to wrestle by Mr Glasper, said: “He was a great guy, I was there when he bought his first, blood smattered ring, and he showed me how to wrestle.”
Mr Glasper worked as a carer for Applejack Home Care, in Stanhope, for the past nine years, predominantly looking after people in isolated villages.
Manager Venita Pattinson said: “He was a smasher of a man, a true gentleman – so well-loved and thought of by everyone here.
“He was a true carer. Last winter he walked eight miles through the snow to see one of his regular clients – he thought nothing of it.”