Loud cheers of tribute to tragic wrestling fan

Wrestlers Stixx and Ricky J McKenzie present Rachel Andrew with her 30th birthday cake at a wrestling show at the Winter Gardens in Morecambe in February 2015. Photo by Tony Knox.
Wrestlers Stixx and Ricky J McKenzie present Rachel Andrew with her 30th birthday cake at a wrestling show at the Winter Gardens in Morecambe in February 2015. Photo by Tony Knox.

Wrestling fans paid tribute to one of their own with a minute’s cheering before a grapple show at the Winter Gardens.

The crowd at Saturday night’s wrestling event put aside the traditional minute’s silence – instead making as much noise as possible in memory of the late Rachel Andrew.

Rachel, from Morecambe, who died suddenly last month aged 30 after collapsing at Lancaster Bus Station of a suspected cardiac arrest, was a regular at ringside at pro wrestling events.

Her usual front row seat was left empty as a mark of respect.

Former Morecambe Road School pupil Rachel was born with a heart condition, twice had open heart surgery and also battled back from a stroke.

Her favourite wrestler Ricky J McKenzie emerged for his bout with a bouquet of flowers, which he laid on her chair.

McKenzie then gave a speech on the microphone where he called for the audience of 300 to be as loud as they could, because “it’s what Rachel herself would have done”.

“Even after everything she went through, she was always smiling and making the most noise at shows and getting involved,” he said. “Her attitude was an inspiration.”

The popular star then defeated his opponent Bubblegum, dedicating his victory to the memory of Rachel.

Later, a collection was held for the British Heart Foundation raising £100.

Also at Saturday night’s ‘War on the Shore’ event, the first ever Morecambe Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony was held.

Doug Williams, former two-time British Heavyweight Champion, World tag team champion and star with TNA Impact Wrestling in America, was the first inductee.

Fans applauded as the 22-year veteran, clad in an immaculate tuxedo, accepted an award from his peers.

Thanking the fans, Williams said: “If somebody had told me 20 years ago that one of the hotbeds for the revival of professional wrestling in Britain would have been Morecambe, I’d have thought they were having a laugh.

“But some of the best memories I have of wrestling all over the world, are from right here in Morecambe.”

Williams later fought the current British champion, Craig Kollins from Barrow-in-Furness, in the main event, but failed to recapture the belt despite a valiant effort.