Statue of legendary Blyth strongman Willie Carr in 'hospital' with broken leg

Blyth strongman Willie Carr statue has been removed from Keel Row shopping centre in Blyth to be repaired

Statue of Willie Carr has now been removed from Keel Row Shopping Centre due to the fact that it is broken and needs repairing
Statue of Willie Carr has now been removed from Keel Row Shopping Centre due to the fact that it is broken and needs repairing

Willie Carr was a formidable figure, but recently the strongman has found himself in a spot of bother.

He was a man so powerful in life that he is actually weaker in his present day form - as a statue.

And now the poor gentle giant, as he is affectionately known, has broken his leg.

He has been a centrepiece in the Keel Row shopping centre in Blyth for the past 22 years, and will be missed while he is off for repair.

Willie died on September 6, 1825, aged 69, and much legend surrounds the story of his life.

His father was a master blacksmith, and Willie became his apprentice when he was 11.

As an adult, he was rumoured to be the strongest man not just in Britain, but the whole world.

At the end of the 18th century, press gangs used to go around looking for men they could capture and force to join the navy. Many times they tried to catch Willie, but each time they were overpowered.

Obsessed with the idea of taking him, one day, they set a trap and got him in a boat at Blyth harbour.

During the journey to their tender, Willie asked the boat’s coxswain if he could swim. When he asked why, Willie replied: “because we shall all be swimming in a moment.”

With that, Willie, with his legs on one side of the boat and his back on the other, pushed so hard he cracked the boat almost in two.

The crew were left spluttering around in the water as the gentle giant swum calmly back to dry land, and they never bothered him again.

Other famous tales of Willie’s superhuman strength include the time he carried an anchor weighing half a tonne from a ship to the blacksmith’s, when he vaulted a five barred gate with a woman under his arm and when he carried a large rock to the Delaval Arms - one which had broken several handcarts before Willie decided to do the work himself.

The rock is still there to this day.

He drank to match his size - there are many stories of Willie downing bottles of spirits which had little to no effect on him, all while remaining a calm and friendly person to be around.

He died after spending seven years crippled by rheumatism, and is buried in St Cuthbert’s cemetery.

Callum Reid, centre manager at Keel Row, said: “We are sorry that Willie has temporarily left the centre and understand that he has a lot of admirers in Blyth.

“We are currently getting him fixed and hope to have him return in the not too distant future.

“In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for some exciting plans underway at the shopping centre.”


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