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Fred Dibnah

Kaz Hayashi

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I remember seeing bits of his BBC documentary as a kid at school and those memories randomly pop in to my head from time to time. I appreciate he’s probably well know in certain regions, but he’s not really spoken about that often, and he’s easily forgotten about.
I fondly remember a couple of scenes of him as a steeplejack, up a massive chimney, laying pipe and boards, while sitting on a rope swing, talking about how difficult it was to smoke a tab that high up, so I decided to have a look for the episodes online and found a YouTube channel with the full BBC documentary and a few other projects Fred was involved with.

He’s one of the people you wished you could’ve had a pint with, and learned from. His engineering knowledge is incredible, and he really reminds me of my old grandad, with that passion & knowledge for a subject that he stumbled across, and became a self taught master of.

Episode 4 is great, he cuts the ribbon to open a Barnardo’s shop, with a gaggle of old ladies giggling at every word he says. At one point he says “I don’t like shopping, I’m Victorian, I went in to a shop and I got very upset like, you know”, as he’s stood in a shop.

I felt he deserved his own thread, but to open it up to more than Fred, are there any local heroes from your neck of the woods from years gone by, who people should be more aware of? 

Edited by Kaz Hayashi
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11 minutes ago, chokeout said:

Whenever he's mentioned it always makes me think of this clip. Makes my arse go just thinking of him casually climbing up the overhang at the top


Fully agree. It’s how casual he is with it and how normal it all is for him, which is what puts him heads and shoulders above base jumpers and the like, when we’re talking about nerves of steel.

With those clips of adrenaline junkies who do pull ups on cranes etc, don’t get me wrong, it makes my stomach go, but what they do is like an event, they’re looking for a thrill and want people to notice, each to their own. But what Fred and his co do is far more ‘brave’ and ‘impressive’ in my opinion, he doesn’t give it a 2nd thought, he’s not doing it for thrills, he’s not looking for attention as such, his job was to climb up shit ladders, without any safety equipment apart from a flat cap, to the top of giant chimneys, several times a day. It’s his level of normal, that makes him so much more abnormal.

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