The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


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Over the next three weeks Joe worked with England coach Gary Langford who got Joe into peak fitness.

Joe trained like a man possessed and Gary had never met a man so single minded before.

Joe was so disciplined. He was first in the gym and always the last one to leave; he was in bed at eleven every evening and didn’t socialise with anyone.

Gary told him that there would be thirteen Nations taking part and that he would be competing in the 110 kilo class. This year they were combining the world weight lifting championships with the Olympic Games. They were only presenting medals for the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk total weight. The world weightlifting championships were presenting individual medals.

The weightlifting events were taking place in the St Michel’s Arena the opening ceremony which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen who was taking special interest in the Games as her daughter Princess Anne was taking part in the Equestrian events.

The team wore white trousers and blue blazer’s and white trilby hats as the opening ceremony got under way. 92 countries took part although there were some African countries that boycotted the games because of the stance on apartheid.

This didn’t detract from the games being a success. Television coverage was worldwide.


The qualifiers got underway the next morning and first to lift was Krastyu Semerdzhiev from Bulgaria who came in at 180 kg for the snatch which he did quite easily. Russ Prior from USA came in at 180.5 kg because of his bodyweight he failed on three attempts so was eliminated from the competition.

Yuri Vlasov from Russia was up next he came in at 180 kg and lifted it on the first time of asking. Joe sat doing his stretching and was very calm and focussed as Pyross Dimas from Greece failed at 180.5 kg as did John Davis from USA

Earnest Cadine from France came in at 180 kg and got it at the third time of asking even when a protest from the Greek team who said their man had failed even though they said his arms were locked out. A video recording was played and the Greek was back in.

Fritz Huneberger Finland failed the qualifier when he injured his arm after his first attempt. Now it was Joes turn. His name was announced and he calmly walked up to the plate and powered his hands he was coming in at 180.5 which was heavier than the rest by bodyweight the buzzer went and Joe set himself he had a wide grip and his feet were about three inches apart. He had to bend down then raise the bar above his head in one clean movement without it touching any part of his body then stand up.

He breathed out and pulled the bar up then stood up as if the weight was nothing.

He had qualified and was in the lead.

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