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A Shout From The Attic: Wilson - Against All Odds

Ronnie Bray's hero when he was a boy was a fictional character called Wilson, who always triumphed when he seemed doomed to failure.

Wilson was, according to the pen drawing at the head of each story, a tall, athletic Yorkshireman, with a talent for running distance, training hard, Spartan living, and poverty. He was a hero in a series of stories in the boy’s Wizard comic, which was one of the staples of a lad’s reading diet in my young days.

Wilson was attractive because he honed his running skill despite being too penurious to buy decent running kit, so he ran barefoot in black leggings and vest, and overcame the opposition of better equipped boys from more salubrious backgrounds. Whilst they dined on steak and other body building foods, Wilson’s idea of a feast was vinegared and salted fish and chips eaten out of newspaper as he jogged along.

If I had a hero in my boyhood, apart from Granddad Bennett, it was the almost silent but dedicated Wilson who, against all odds, triumphed when he ought to have failed. I had some things in common with the taciturn champion, but it was our starting places, never in our finishings. Wilson continuously won, and I continually failed, and while I enjoyed his successes, they served only to heighten my own sense of failure, but that was something I got used to.

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