The Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association has a new President, from Northumberland: Jimmy Pringle of Rothbury.
His own wrestling career lasted thirty years beginning when Tom McKay bet him a tanner that he would not compete at Whittingham Games, and ending with a last haad at Alwinton Show thirty years ago.
He had been part of the exciting and chaotic time of Thropton Academy that picked up where Harbottle Academy had left off. I remember spraining my ankle on the coconut mats in the village hall of this nowhere village in darkest Northumberland, but at one time they held five world championships with the likes of Alan and Kenny Davidson, Gordon and Eddie Younger and Raymond Rogerson. Jock Hall was in at the start, but when he left there was general anarchy and a sudden raffle to pay off two year's rent for the hall.
Geordie Davidson, Powderhall sprinter, professional high-jump champion, and helicopter-style wrestler, was then "the main man". He took the lads off to the Highland Games and Cumberland for fun and excitement and Jimmy lapped it up.
Thropton, despite its successes, foundered, and there was a gap until Jimmy started a wrestling youth club in the Jubilee Hall, Rothbury. That kept things rolling but Jimmy's work took him away from home for long periods so the club had its ups and downs. I remember, though, that when Ted Dunglinson, Tom Harrington and I were starting up Carlisle Wrestling Club in the 1970s, it was Jimmy Pringle who was the main man to contact to get things done in Northumberland.
In his work he has always been a sort of mega-foreman, the man who keeps the architects sensible and the workforce fully involved and occupied, at the likes of the Metro Centre and other big projects round the country. I thought he was retired, but found out that he has twenty-four bricklayers in his charge at the moment.
He admits that he is "rough and ready", but that is his talent, for he is a man of action, organising, finding sponsors, phoning the wrestlers to get them into the ring. He feels that there has been a pause in the impetus of our wrestling after the modernisation process led by a development committee which brought in coaching qualifications, first-aid courses, safety standards and the like. He wants "to liven things up".
He has his pet hates: balloon races that dump themselves in the ring at Alwinton, terrier races that do the same, and teachers. But despite it all he is a diplomat, but just not of the Whitehall, Foreign Office variety, if "ye knaa whatta mean".