In April 1965, The Standard ran a piece on the Clark family, of Argyle Street, Boston, who that week had enjoyed two debuts – first, the arrival of son Stephen; and second, the first professional wrestling bout of dad Bill, husband to Yvonne.
It was the start of a career which would last decades, and see him compete across the UK, overseas, and even on TV, sharing the bill at times with such star names as Big Daddy.
Bill, who wrestled under the name ‘Big’ Bill Clark, passed away recently, aged 80, still living in Boston with Yvonne. His funeral was attended by a number of ex-wrestlers, who travelled from far and wide for the occasion.
Speaking of his debut in 1965, the Standard wrote: “Local lorry driver Bill is due to fight Adolf Dabrowski at Boston’s Drill Hall, and may find a debut against the tricky Pole a difficult way to start a career as a semi-pro mat man.
“Bill, a six footer with blond hair, will certainly have the crowd of local wrestling fans on his side as he takes his place among the other grunt and groan men on the bill.”
Bill, at that time, was a former member of Boston Weight Training Club, and had been a member of Boston Judo Club for three years.
“It is his first fight before an audience,” The Standard continued. “He is confident that he will put up a good show. For practice he has been spending two hours at the Drill Hall each Saturday afternoon with some of the pro boys and local enthusiasts.”
“He absolutely loved it,” Yvonne said of the career that followed, which ran alongside work in the construction industry.
Bouts were held in places as far afield as Scotland, Wales, Land’s End, plus overseas – in countries such as Kenya, India, and Zambia.
One booking led to a memorable Standard photo of Yvonne in a headlock with Big Daddy.
“He was holding me ever so carefully,” she said. “He kept saying ‘look terrified, stop laughing’.”
As well as Yvonne, Bill is survived by son Stephen, granddaughter Linsey, and grandson Christopher.
Yvonne described him as ‘happy go lucky’, as ‘always nice and friendly’, adding: “Every photograph I have got of him he’s smiling. He always seemed happy really.”