OXFORD’S own wrestling star, 3ft 7inch Little Legs, is returning to the ring this weekend to fight bullying.
Little Legs, whose real name is Mark Sealey, will be taking on challengers twice his height to raise money for anti-bullying charity Kidscape.
Sunday’s show at the Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre is part of Welsh Wrestling’s touring show.
Mr Sealey said: “They invite me to do their shows, I’ve done quite a few, but I always do the Oxford one.”
The wrestler and actor, who now lives in Wood Farm but grew up in Blackbird Leys, has more cause than most to support the event.
He said: “It’s a cause close to my heart, as a disabled person.
“When I was younger I was bullied. Back in those days disability was still a taboo.
“I went to a boarding school in Hampshire because disabled kids weren’t allowed in mainstream schools. It was something I learned to cope with but obviously some kids are going to cope better than others. A lot of wrestlers were bullied when they were younger.”
For the last 18 months Welsh Wrestling has given 25 per cent of the touring show’s proceeds to Kidscape.
The charity provides help and advice for vulnerable children, including non-threatening skills in how to keep themselves safe.
The event’s promoter Alan Ravenhill said: “These shows all started when WWE in America set up their Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) initiative.
“It worked so well over there, we thought we’d try it here.”
He said: “In the old days it used to be cool to watch wrestling, but nowadays a lot of kids who do like it get bullied.
“We do a back-stage event after the show where kids get to meet the wrestlers, who are basically real-life superheroes.”
Mr Sealey said: “There will be five matches in the show, and I’ll be in the last one. I’m not sure who I’m up against yet, because it’s whoever wins one of the earlier bouts. It’s like pantomime, theres a storyline with goodies and baddies that builds through the fight.”
Mr Sealey – who has three children, Ellie, 14, Kate, nine, and two-year-old Nia, with Anne, his partner of 15 years – has genetic bone growth disorder Kniest dysplasia.
But his disability has no impact on his wrestling performance. He said: “Anybody can do it. We have men, women, people like me, and youngsters of 16. It’s very inclusive.
“I turn 40 this year, but that won’t change anything either. I’ll dye my hair and get away with it.”
Mr Sealey was Oxford United’s mascot in 1986, after the team won the Milk Cup against Everton 3-0.
He said: “I’m a strong Oxford United supporter, through good times and bad.”
Tickets cost £10 for adults and £8 for children on 01864 467 020, or when doors open at 2.30pm.