Muscle man pulls double decker

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 July 2010

Muscle man Dave Gouder

Muscle man Dave Gouder

MUSCLE man “Big Dave” Gouder strutted his stuff by pulling a double decker bus for 15 yards to the amazement of more than 200 school children at Edward Worlledge Junior School in Great Yarmouth.

MUSCLE man “Big Dave” Gouder strutted his stuff by pulling a double decker bus for 15 yards to the amazement of more than 200 school children at Edward Worlledge Junior School in Great Yarmouth.

The children chanted “come on Dave” and watched opened mouthed as he dragged the vintage First Eastern Counties Routemaster in the school playground with the aid of nothing more than a body brace.

Dave, at 17.5 stone holds 26 world records having pulled 965 buses and for the last seven years has dedicated himself to a one man campaign to build up the confidence of school children.

The 38 year old he-man came with a serious message - to say no to bullying. Dave then spoke to the children in the school hall and told them how he was bullied at school and emphasised that strength is not always physical, as he had just demonstrated, it is also in the mind.

He told the children: “I was bullied in the first year of senior school. I became a target because I was small and quiet and never joined in any of the games the other children did. So for the best part of that first school year, I was targeted by five boys all older and bigger than me. It started with name calling, then emptying my school bag all over a desk and one of them told me that if I said anything it would get worse. I didn't say anything and it still got worse, a lot worse. They started hitting me at every opportunity, playtimes, lunch breaks and on my way home. I ended up with cuts and bruises and when my parents asked me what had happened, I lied saying I had walked in to a lamp post, fallen over and other excuses.”

He said that eventually no-one believed him and the situation was taken up by his parents and the head teacher who had had no idea what was going on. Dave said after that, he was never troubled again although he did not know what was said to the boys concerned.

He said: “After that I became involved in school sports and other activities and this led to me becoming a strong-man. On this occasion, it was confidence, if you have confidence you can be anything you want to be in life.”

Dave said the solution was words, not action and youngsters should “talk, talk, talk” to deal with any bullying problem. He said that the key word is “respect” and asked the children to repeat it. He also asked the children what was meant by the word. Answers came back including , being kind to each other, helping one another and sticking up for your friends. Dave praised the children for their answers and asked them to have respect for their teachers, parents and their neighbours.

Deputy head teacher Philippa Collingwood said: “Norfolk police asked if we were interested in having Dave here to talk to the children and we immediately said yes. Bullying goes on in all schools but I am pleased to say that in our case we have a number of initiatives and manage to head it off before it becomes a serious issue.”

The Routemaster bus was loaned by the Great Yarmouth depot of First Eastern Counties and manager Bob Richiardi said: “We are pleased have been involved with this initiative in Yarmouth as it helps tackle antisocial behaviour.”

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