Frank Rimer had been part of the wrestling business for over 50 years. His numerous activities and achievements within the world of wrestling include former Southern Area Lightweight Amateur Champion, professional wrestler, second, referee, Master of Ceremonies, promoter, co-founder of Drokixx Wrestling Academy, organiser of the British Wrestlers Reunion, writer, webmaster and columnist.
Outside the ring, his life has been equally varied, ranging from being Mr South-east England bodybuilding champion and life member of NABBA, Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme Physical Training instructor, karate black belt 1st Dan, and high-board diver, to model, rock'n'roll promoter, and commentator for television Channels 4 & 5 on the British Strongman Championships.
When he was just 9 years old, Frank's parents were involved in an horrific car crash in which his father was killed and his mother crippled. This inevitably resulted in very hard times for the family financially. At 11 years of age, Frank was taken swimming to a local lido, where some mindless louts threw him in the deep end, not realising that he couldn’t swim. Two huge athletes were quickly on the scene to pull him out, with a third acting as pool attendant. One was European diving champion Perry Blake; the second was the great Johnny Yearsley and the third was TV wrestling legend Bobby Barnes. John Yearsley took Frank home and offered to assist his mother in raising him, by teaching him "the manly side of life". She was initially very sceptical, and insisted on inspecting John's home, only to relax somewhat when she met his boys, Mark and Carl
Frank trained in John's home gym with other aspiring athletes, including his brother Malcolm Yearsley, Charlie Fisher's son Brian Sparks, Leon Fortuna, Dave Phillips, physique champions such as Dave Marshall and amateur wrestling new boy Wayne Bridges, with whom he has remained friends ever since. Sometimes they would visit the Billy Stevens gym in Stratford, where Frank met and befriended Dave Prowse MBE who was then Britain's Strongest Man. Film star Sean Connery also trained there and went on to be placed in the Mr Universe contest, having also been guided by John.
Frank attended diving and swimming lessons with Perry Blake, eventually joining his aqua show as a stunt diver opposite another young hopeful, Brian Phelps, who went on to win Olympic gold. Another swimmer was Anita Lonsborough who also won an Olympic medal.
Just before his 12th birthday, John enrolled Frank in the Viking Amateur Wrestling Club where Wayne Bridges trained, and he began to study the catch-as-catch-can style of grappling. Wayne was also an ardent swimmer and eventually won an Olympic medal in Australia in 1962.
Frank began to get bigger, and by 1959 had transferred to the Sparta Club in Shoreditch when he won the South Eastern Lightweight Amateur Wrestling Championships at Pentonville. Two years later he took the Mr Junior South East England physique title at the Scala Theatre in London.
In 1960, Frank won a place at Dale Martins gym in Brixton, where he enrolled with another athlete called Rajendra Singh. It was while he was there, being trained by former World Shoot champion Mike Demitre, and watched by Jack Dale, that a trainee wrestler decided to "scurf" Frank in order to impress "The Boss". "Scurfing" means hurting your opponent in a shoot match. Frank felt really humiliated, as he didn’t know the art of submission wrestling at that time. A well-built athlete training in the corner had seen this happen, and asked if he could replace Frank in the ring. Mike agreed and Frank witnessed the total annihilation of the other "wannabe". That athlete was Ray Fury, who Frank later learned was Demitre’s protégé, and regarded as one of the top ten submission wrestlers in the world. He and Frank have remained friends to this day.
Frank's first Pro bout was for an opposition promoter called Mickey Kylie in a fairground booth in Plymouth, where Johnny Kincaid also started. Then followed sporadic work for Gorden Corbett, Baverstock Cooter, Orig Williams and other lesser-known promoters. By 1964 Frank had his first bout for Dale Martins and served as a part time wrestler for several years, against many top names of the day.
1969 saw Ray Fury and Frank form Independent Joint Promotions, which they ran for some years, utilising many former TV names such as Danny Lynch, Basil Riley, Wildman of Borneo, Harry Kendall, etc., who had left Dales. At this time Ray Fury,TonyScarlo and Frank accepted many modelling and bit-part acting roles for magazines, TV, movies etc., and they also promoted many Rock'n'Roll revival and Country & Western shows featuring names like Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and Shakin'Stevens.
Mid seventies, and Frank took up karate and studied Wado-Ru (Way of peace) under Tatsuo Suzuki, winning a black belt 1st Dan in 1978. He taught physical training and bodybuilding at the Association of Boys Clubs, which was sponsored by singer Frankie Vaughan during the 80’s, and also qualified as a Fitness Instructor for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme in 1985.
In 1995, Frank attended his first British Wrestlers' Reunion in Greenwich, and went on to organise the Reunion with Wayne Bridges and Joe D’Orazio from 1997 retiring from the role in 2016. Attendances have increased greatly each year, making it the largest of its type in the world, other than the American Cauliflower Alley Club. Frank has helped build the reunion website, and written 10 newsletters which would go out worldwide. In 2002 he received an award from the founder in recognition of his work and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019. Despite retirning from role as organiser Frank continued in a consultancy role right up until his death.
In 1998 Frank co-founded the Dropkixx Wrestling Academy with Tony Scarlo whom he had known and wrestled for over 45 years. It became, and still remains, the largest school in Europe (under Jon Ritchie), teaching amateur, submission and Pro styles of grappling, especially "Word of Sport" traditional British style. They have helped 85% of current wrestlers in U.K. to start and also helped many bullied and medically disabled children. Dropkixx made several TV documentaries during this time and became involved in the ‘Britain's Hardest’ endurance shows, featuring Leroy Kincaid, Hade Vansen , Darren Burridge and Ian ‘the machine’ Freeman. Frank retired from active 'bumping' in 2005, following a spinal and neck injury, and was honoured to receive another award from the wrestlers for his achievements in this venture. Frank says his proudest moments were seeing a paralysed boy roll into the ring and grab legendary Doug Williams -"My deepest respect and love to Doug who proved what a great star he really is by giving his time to that project", says Frank - seeing several bullied kids make their wrestling debut on the circuit, and also watching his son Frankie in his inaugural bout with Jonny Storm against Darren Burridge and another American ECW wrestler, and meeting his boyhood hero, actor, movie and physique star "Mighty Joe" Robinson, who asked for Frank's autograph
Frank's Master of Ceremonies work has been ongoing since 1968, and acted as ring announcer up until 2018 for Dropkixx and LDN wrestling shows for the Fight Channel on Sky TV, plus guest spots on the annual Legends shows, where he has presented "Lifetime Achievement" awards to Mick McManus, Joe D’Orazio, Mel Stuart and more.
Frank passed away suddenly although peacefully in his sleep on Friday 12th February 2021 and died of natural causes with no pain.
Frank leaves behind his loving wife Mary and his son Frank Jnr and daughter in law Jess.
The wrestling world has lost a good and faithful servant and UK wrestling owes Frank a debt that can never be fully repaid. Sleep in comfort and RIP our dear friend.