When was the last time you did a handstand at work?
No, me neither. It’s not the done thing at ChronicleLive and presumably not at your place of employment either – unless you’re a gymnast or a circus entertainer, of course.
Thirty-five years ago, bosses of a contract firm painting the Tyne Bridge were highly unamused when this picture appeared in the local and national press.
It featured one of their workers – we’ll call him Gerry – performing a daring handstand on top of the arch, 59 metres (194 feet) above the waters of the River Tyne below.
The heartstopping image showed Gerry nonchalantly doing his thing, complete with a cigarette in his mouth and mug of tea at the ready, with the Swing Bridge, High Level Bridge, QE II Metro Bridge and the river forming a spectacular backdrop.
Sadly, for Gerry, it was one of his last acts as a painter working on the bridge.
‘Handstand man sacked’ was the headline in the Chronicle on October 30, 1985.
We reported: “An agile painter got more than he bargained for when he did a handstand on top of the Tyne Bridge.
“Gerry thought the photographer was taking shots for his own collection.
“But he came into work this morning to find the high-level head-over-heels picture splashed in the Daily Mirror and was told he was out of a job.”
The boss of the contract firm told our reporter: “It was a stupid thing to do. He was a real clown and it was very dangerous. He would have been killed if he fell.
“As it is, we are going to have health and safety inspectors down here by the dozen to find out what on earth was happening.”
Thirty-five years on, we wish Gerry well.
The Chronicle reported at the time: “He is married and in his 30s and is understood to be shocked and very upset at being fired from his £300-a-week job.”
Finally, with regards to doing a handstand on the Tyne Bridge – as all the best TV presenters say: “Don’t try this at home!”