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Willie Ramsay wowed Irish race-goers at this year's Punchestown Festival when he performed his world-famous aerial act from a 25 metre crane. A veteran of the insane to the just plain bizarre, he also enjoys knife throwing, trapeze, bungee and the wonderfully named 'Wheel of Death'. In between performances I managed to talk to Willie about his high flying career, and his bird's eye view on life.
In a Scottish brogue softened by many years away from home, Willie tells me of a life filled with people telling him 'he couldn't.' Having had a kidney removed at the age of 8, he was told he would never lead a normal life. In one respect they were right. His life is certainly far from normal. He joined the famous Gerry Cottle circus at 16, and never looked back. Or down. He worked with the infamous Circus of Horrors for over a decade. Think Buffy the Vampire slayer meets zombie chainsaw jugglers and you're on the right track. He has travelled all over the world, performing and teaching. He was head coach at the millennium dome for a year, and left to train Angelina Jolie to perform the bungee in Lara Croft: Tomb raider. He has taken the Wheel of Death all over the world. This wonderfully named machine is akin to two large metal hamster wheels rotating around a fixed point. He and his partner then perform tricks inside and outside the cages as they rotate. With no safeties, it's one of the most dangerous acts you'll ever see with only a handful of people around the world with the skill to perform it. Last month he was being thrown around on the Ant and Dec show (not for the first time) and has stunted many a time on TV and film.
Having spent a time coaching in Australia, Willie is now back in colder climes to perform and tour.

What makes someone want to do this for a living? Willie is matter of fact about it. It's a job at the end of the day. It can be difficult, dangerous and unrewarding. Today it's wet and cold and windy. His shoulder is a bit achy and the radio isn't working as well as it might. But if he had to choose between this and any other job, he wouldn't change it for the world, because he knows that despite everyone telling him he couldn't, he bloody well can, and that's the greatest feeling in the world.