Brighton and Hove’s local newspaper is called The Argus. Its staff don’t have much to write about: the football team and its struggle for a stadium, resident micro-celebrity Zoe Ball and her slightly more famous husband Fat Boy Slim. I think I’ve only bought a copy twice. Yesterday was the second time. Why? Because of the following wonderful, wonderful story. Under the page three headline “RON SETS HIS HEAD ON FIRE” Siobhan Ryan writes:
Veteran stuntman Ron Cunningham got a little more than he bargained for when he staged his latest show.
Crowds gathered at the Bedford Tavern pub in Brighton to watch the 90-year-old escape from chains while his hat and jacket were set on fire.
Before the stunt Ron, also known as The Great Omani, said he was 99 percent sure that the stunt would be successful.
He said: “I haven’t done this one for a while and I don’t know what is going to happen but we’ll soon find out.
“I enjoy performing. I have done it all my life. “I need a wheelchair as I am on dialysis and have to go to hospital three times a week. I’m also having treatment for cancer but I don’t let it stop me.”
Pubgoers watched as Ron was wheeled into the centre of the pub by his son David. Chains were put around his wrist and locked with a steel bar and padlocks. Petrol was then poured on his jacket and hat…
…Omani’s hat came off and the flames on his arms flicked around his face, scorching it a little. As he successfully removed the chains and padlocks, the flames became bigger and his wheelchair caught alight.
David stepped forward quickly to put out the flames, but Omani—who ended up with a couple of burns on his arms—had managed to escape….
…After a reviving drink, Ron, who lives in Norfolk Street, Brighton, said: “I came a little unstuck there for a moment but I’ve still got my right hand and can still hold my glass.
“I’ve got a couple of burns but I still think it went well. “
“I’m pleased to have done it. I love to perform.”
Pubgoer Rick Hawdon was stunned by the performance.
He said: “That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in a pub on a Saturday afternoon.”