Walter Tilley, Championship Wrestler
Walter Tilley, Championship Wrestler moved to Choppington in 1930, from Ryton on Tyne. He originally worked at Greenside Colliery, but when he moved to the area he began to work at Choppington “A” pit.
When he was a young man he was always interested in weight-lifting, but eventually turned to wrestling. He became champion of the North, wrestling in the ten stone weight class and fought under the name of The Young Madrill. When he trained his diet would be sherry and eggs. His fights would either take place in the open air or on stages, it was known he held two of his fights at the Welfare Centre, Choppington, and during his career he estimated that he had between forty and fifty contests.
One of his greatest fights was against a wrestler named Joe Charnley from Lancashire. It took place in a field at Ryton and lasted three hours before being stopped and a draw declared. Walter was in bed for a total of two weeks to recover fully from the fight.
While living in Choppington Walter ran a gymnasium for many years in a hall at Guide Post Social Club, which was open for all the local lads. One of the first persons to be trained by him was Davey Armstrong, who went on and made a national name for himself.