Brad Taylor will return to his hometown next month, in a role his friends and teachers never thought possible ... a wrestling star.
Brad Flash, as he is known in the industry, is bringing the theatrical flips and slams of American wrestling show Megaslam to the Neeld Hall in Chippenham for the first time on Saturday, March 8.
Mr Taylor, who lived in Lacock until he was 18, said: “It’s going to be really special for me. In all my years of wrestling, this is the event I’m most looking forward to. Hopefully, some school friends will be in the audience. I’ve never wrestled in Wiltshire before. It’s going to be so weird.”
Old friends may struggle to recognise the toned fighter, now 23 and managing director of Megaslam Wrestling, from the chubby youngster at Hardenhuish.
“When I look back at photos of myself, I just think, what a disgrace,” he said. “I was fat back then.”
After watching the sport on television from the age of five, Mr Taylor joined a training school in Hull after moving to Rotherham at 18. He said the two-hour warm- ups soon got him into shape.
“When you wrestle, you’ve got 300 press-ups, 300 sit-ups, 500 squats, half-hour run on the spot, a two-mile run, all before you get in the ring. It’s important to look the part, not like some kid that’s just been to the doughnut shop.”
Mr Taylor, who was a child extra in the second Harry Potter movie, filmed at Lacock, said he faced ridicule at school for being a wrestling fan.
“It wasn’t the thing then. I played other sports for a while, including playing for Chippenham Youth FC, but it was wrestling that was always in my heart and I am now living the dream.
“Teachers asked me what I wanted to do and when I told them they all, except for my PE teacher, said, ‘You’ll never get anywhere with that’. I hope my old teachers are there on the night so they see that I have.”
In one of five bouts on the bill, Brad will perform in the family-friendly show.
He said: “The Neeld Hall said they really want to make Wiltshire a hotbed for wrestling.”
Tickets are £12 , from the Town Hall or on the night from 7pm. One child gets in free with each paying adult.