Sunderland taxi driver Rob swaps fares for gravy grappling in world championship wrestling event for charity

Sunderland taxi driver Rob Berry is ready to get out from behind the wheel and into the ring as he takes part in a tasty challenge.

By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 30 July, 2019, 11:45

The 50-year-old from Pennywell, who has worked for Station Taxis for 20 years, is poised to challenge fellow fighters in the World Gravy Wrestling Championships.

It will see him get into an arena filled with warm gravy as he takes on others in a bid to take the top spot in the bizarre sporting challenge.

Rob, who is married to Tracy, and dad to Alana, 15, Megan, 22, and Jamie, 29, will be taking part in the competition for the fourth year running and will be raising money for Children's Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) which treats youngsters with heart conditions.

Station Taxis driver Rob Berry is taking part in the World Gravy Wrestling Championships in aid of CHUF and is pictured with colleague Natalie Bland.

He backs the charity in memory of Layla Davis, from Ryhope, who died in October 2016 aged just four after undergoing a heart transplant after she was born with Shone’s Complex, a rare heart defect.

This year, Rob will pull on his Mr Incredible suit once more as he raises funds for the cause.

Rob, who has been involved in mixed martial arts for years, is a forth dan in Karate and trains through the Shinzen-Ki club based in Thorney Close and Grindon, and a second dan in Jiu Jitsu.

Rob Berry gets the better of one competitor during a previous World Gravy Wrestling Championships event.

He got into gravy wrestling when a friend suggested he join in.

It takes placed as part of a funday held by the Rose ‘N’ Bowl in Rossendale, Lancashire, on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.

Rob joked he first told his wife of a ‘dirty weekend’ away only to reveal the true reason for the trip.

Now the fancy dress event has become an annual pilgrimage, with the special meaty sauce mixed up by an award winning black pudding maker, with the gravy topped up during the bouts.

Rob Berry, left, with a fellow challenger at a past World Gravy Wrestling Championships event.

“Truthfully, it’s a bit messy,” said Rob, who has previously taken part in Station Taxis Cabpool Karakoe series, belting out hits with customers in the firm’s own version of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

“It’s for a great cause, CHUF, so even if I put out after the first round, I’ve still earned my money for the charity, but I would love to win.

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“I’m friends with Layla’s dad Steve and it means a lot to support the charity.

“There’s no training you can do, because as soon as you’re covered in gravy, it’s crazy.

Station Taxis driver Rob Berry is being given the backing of his colleagues.

“I’m trained in MMA, some have done Jiu Jitsu, some have done Judo, but as soon as you’re in liquid, you slip up.

“It’s done in fancy dress, so usually, the more clothes you have on, the more there is for the other to grab onto, but everyone is slippy.

“It’s a crazy event but I’ve met some lovely people.”

Rob has set up a Just Giving page to collect sponsorship and is aiming to raise £700 this year.

Anyone who would like to back him can visit justgiving.com/fundraising/robert-berry12.

Rob Berry will pull on his Mr Incredible outfit once again for the event over the August Bank Holiday.
Rob Berry, right, and another fighter wrestling for the prize at a previous contest.
Taxi driver Rob Berry has made many friends through the challenge.
Competitors pull on fancy dress for the event, with Rob Berry's previous outfits including a ninja costume.
Station Taxis driver Rob Berry will dress as Mr Incredible when he joins in the World Gravy Wrestling Championships in aid of CHUF.
Station Taxis' driver Rob Berry puts the hold on the competition in a previous show.
Rob Berry will raise funds for CHUF through the World Gravy Wrestling Championships.