I was deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of Richard Abrey, alias the Black Baron, wall of death rider at the Kursaal back in the 1960s.

In the Nineties, Richard responded to an article in the Echo, inviting readers to contact me about research for a song I was writing on the legendary wall of death rider, Tornado Smith.

He gave me unlimited time and valuable information. Without him, the song would have been full of omissions, inaccuracies and basically, virtually impossible to complete.

The last time I saw him was at the Southend Pier Heritage Festival, where he was holding his Wall of Death exhibition at the pierhead.

Richard asked Piertalk to perform our song at his exhibition and we obliged.

He was a lovely, warm, gentle man, who loved chatting about the wonderful days when the Kursaal was full of fascinating attractions.

Fortunately, one of our concept albums captures Richard's voice for posterity, along with the song he helped me pen. Thanks again Richard.

Chris Woods
Hollytree Gardens