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.


63. 63


The big Russian waved to the crowd as he attempted a new world record. The commentator said if any man could do it then surely Alekeyev could.

The bar was now set at 240 kg, 529. 109 lbs and Alekeyev gripped the bar he squatted down and raised the bar off the floor but then dropped it. The crowd sighed as the Russian walked off stage.

The whole of North Shields waited for the Russian to come back on stage they watched as he got down again to attempt the record lift. Again the Russian dropped the bar and there was a look of resignation upon his face; if he failed again Joe Kimber would become the first Britain to hold the Olympic and world 110 kg titles.

Alekeyev came out for his final lift in the competition. He took his time he walked around the stage then set himself.

Even Joe noticed that his left foot was turned out over as he raised the bar to his shoulders. The Russian was being yelled at by his coaches he huffed and puffed then tried to push the bar but it wasn’t budging. He dropped the bar and then bowed politely to the crowd.

The realisation didn’t hit Joe until Vasily Alekeyev came into his warm up area and shook his hand.

“You be a good Champion Joe. Now you go and break the world record.”

“Thank you Vasily, I will always remember this moment.”

Joe walked out on stage to a massive round of applause as the new champion but could he become a new world record holder.


Joe went through his preparation again he then closed his eyes and saw Bella again and smiled. She was calmly telling him that if he didn’t lift this bar not to come back to her. “This one’s for you my darling he whispered as he got down. He knew if he didn’t get this lift on his first attempt he would never do it.

The world waited and everyone held there breath as Joe pulled the bar to his shoulder the bar wobbled for an instant then Joe counted to five then pushed with all his might and the bar went up and up he wobbled then steadied himself, It held! He’d done it.

Gary Langford ran onto the stage then kissed the big man on both cheeks.

Eric Sanderson sat in front of his Television set as the tears of joy ran down his cheeks.

“Good on you son he said; good on you.”

The pubs and clubs celebrated long into the night as North Shields had a new hero

in Joe Kimber. Joe’s mother Sally was crying and his father was so proud as Joe stood on the podium to receive the gold medal from Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip.

The National anthem never sounded sweeter to Joe at that moment and he then realised what it meant to be British.



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