From a very early age Lee Bamber caught the wrestling bug and like millions of others would be an avid viewer of wrestling every Saturday afternoon on ITVs World of Sport. As a young child Lee would often emulate many of the great referees that were officiating at the time and whilst they were doing it in front of thousands of fans up and down the country Lee was doing it from home but he was definitely learning from the best and it was to stand him in good stead years later.
As a youngster Lee Candertons dad would regularly take him to shows at the Royal Albert Hall and Brent Town Hall in Wembley as these were close to his home town of Harrow, little did he know that a few years later he would himself be parading around the ring but this is exactly what happened to him although thanks to Brian Dixon, who thought Lee had a look of television celebrity Bamber Gascoigne, he is better known these days to wrestling fans as Lee Bamber.
In October 1985 Lee started his long career in the wrestling business and he is still going strong. Lee’s first official bout was in Chelmsford for All Star Wrestling after he had been a regular referee and Master of Ceremonies at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis where he had been employed as a Redcoat.
In early 1988 Lee got national recognition when he was selected as the Master of Ceremonies for four televised shows broadcast on ITV. Lee was due to become a regular face on the weekly wrestling slot but, unfortunately for Lee, ITV decided that at the end of 1988 wrestling was no longer going to form part of the television schedule. However, for Lee this was just the start and a video cassette was produced fronted by legendary wrestler Mick McManus. The Mick McManus World of Wrestling was released and Lee was asked if he would be lead commentator which of course he gladly agreed to. The video was a huge success selling nationwide and led to further video releases on British Wrestling over the next few years all of which Lee provided commentary for.
In 2020 Lee marked 35 consecutive years of working as a Master of Ceremonies and referee having officiated all over the UK for a number of promoters including 60+ appearances at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon and for World Association of Wrestling before 4000 fans at Carrow Road, the home of Norwich City Football Club. During this time Lee has refereed and introduced many of the great stars in British Wrestling history and continues to ply his trade up and down the country to this very day.
Many people in the wrestling industry have it ‘in their blood’ and Lee is no different, he loves the business so much that when he married in 2000 as part of his wedding reception he had a wrestling show and not only that, just a few short hours after saying ‘I do’ to his beloved new wife he refereed two bouts in front of family and friends. Doug Williams took on Phil Barker whilst Mal Sanders opposed Steve Grey, everyone enjoyed the alternative wedding reception and as Lee said himself ‘it’s better than a disco’
Outside of wrestling Lee has many varied interests. He has for decades had a successful broadcasting career and has worked for the BBC and other independent radio stations presenting his own shows for a number of years. Lee has also been a continuity announcer as well as being a transmission controller. Alongside his radio, television and wrestling activities Lee was for twenty years the resident arena commentator at Wimbledon Stadium for Sunday Night Stock Car and Banger Racing.
In 2015 Lee became the compere for the British Wrestlers Reunion taking over from Frank Rimer who had presided over the Reunion for 19 years. Lee has done a sterling job and has fitted into the role exceptionally well and has become very popular with everyone who attends the event.
In 2021 Lee was hailed as ‘the hero of the day’ when, at the annual Reunion, the PA system did not arrive. However, Lee stepped up to the challenge and did the entire show without any form of amplification, no mean task and yet he saved the show and that is why he has for many years now been credited as the best MC in the business.
On Sunday 8th August 2021 Lee Bamber was inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame in appreciation of his dedication to the wrestling industry. Lee is the first living non-wrestler ever to receive this accolade, the only other non-wrestler being Kent Walton who received the award posthumously. This award is well deserved for a long career which we hope will go on for many more years to come.
(Lee Bamber received his Hall of Fame Award on the 8th August 2021)