Former world boxing champion Glenn McCrory to spar with playwright as part of his year’s WRITE Festival

Glenn McCrory, left, with write Ed Waugh and actor Micky Cochrane. Picture by Sophie Teasdale.
Glenn McCrory, left, with write Ed Waugh and actor Micky Cochrane. Picture by Sophie Teasdale.

A former world boxing Champion is to spar with one of the North East’s best known playwrights as a leading literary festival returns to South Tyneside.

The third annual WRITE Festival - which celebrates the written word in all its forms – will take place from Saturday, May 11 to 24 at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields Market Place.

Glenn McCrory's career is the subject of Ed Waugh's latest play, Carrying David.

Glenn McCrory's career is the subject of Ed Waugh's latest play, Carrying David.

Wednesday May 22 will be a treat for sports fans, when multi-award-winning South Shields playwright, Ed Waugh, will be in conversation with former world boxing champion, Glenn McCrory, at a one-off event at Jarrow Focus in Cambrian Street.

Glenn achieved one of the greatest individual sporting accomplishments by a North East athlete in the 20th century when he defeated odds-on favourite Patrick Lumumba at The Louisa Centre, Stanley, in 1989.

The match, in front of 1500 fans and a worldwide live television audience, earned him the Cruiserweight World title – and the motivation for Glenn’s victory was his terminally ill brother, David, who had the muscle wasting disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia.

“David was my inspiration,” said Glenn. “He joined the McCrory family when he was six years old and, as he was only 17 months younger than me, we became very close.”

The disease meant David struggled to walk and, as children, Glenn would carry him on his back, inspiring the title of the boxer’s five-star autobiography, Carrying David and a new stage play of the same name, written by Ed and starring Micky Cochrane.

Glenn said: “I saw Ed’s excellent play, Hadaway Harry, three years ago and knew he was the only one I could trust to write this with the correct balance of emotion and, importantly, humour. Despite his problems, David had a great sense of humour.

“As a teenager I was heralded as a potential future heavyweight champion. Bad management saw me go from being a great hope to a whipping boy - obviously, I felt sorry for myself, but David was always there to support me.”

Glenn added: “On the one hand Carrying David is upsetting for me personally but on the other it’s a fantastic story and Ed is a top writer.”

Glenn McCrory In Conversation With Ed Waugh will take place from 6.30pm to 8pm and tickets, which cost £5, are available from The Word.

The stage play, Carrying David, will appear at The Westovian Theatre, South Shields, on Saturday, June 8, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.