Farewell to former soldier and Blurton Arms landlord who once helped with James Bond film

A former soldier born and bred in Blurton who once helped with the filming of a famous James Bond movie has been laid to rest. Family, friends and several veterans, as well as the Staffordshire Regiment mascot dog, were all in attendance yesterday (May 1) to pay their respects to Colin Wallbanks.

The funeral service for the 71-year-old, who died on April 14 at the Douglas Macmillan Hospice following a short battle with cancer, took place at Carmountside Crematorium. Colin, who had the nickname Rory, was a dad and grandad as well as being a son to Rose and the late Ron, and a brother to Linton, Ian and Dawn.

Ian told StokeonTrentLive that his brother was "adventurous" and a "Jack the lad" who had lots of stories to tell. He joined the Staffordshire Regiment in the early 1970s before moving to Gibraltar where he was stationed for 16 years.

It was during his time there that he found himself in the unlikely position of assisting the film makers behind the 1987 James Bond movie 'The Living Daylights'. Ian explained: "He was the diving officer at the time and when they did the film whenever they were doing something in the sea they always contacted him. They'd ask where they could go and what they could and couldn't do."

-Credit:Stoke Sentinel
-Credit:Stoke Sentinel

Early in his army career Colin was shot by a sniper while serving in Northern Ireland and was lucky to survive. "He was shot in 1972," explained Ian. "He got shot through the arm - it just missed his heart by an inch.

"He was awarded his oak leaves for bravery for carrying on his duties whilst waiting to be relieved." When Colin returned to Stoke-on-Trent after living in Gibraltar, he started working in the pub trade.

As well as running pubs, he also worked for a brewery training up managers. "He ran the Blurton Arms for a couple of years in the late 90s," said Ian.

"He always wanted that one because he was a local lad." Away from work, Colin had enjoyed martial arts in his younger years and was also the drummer in a band.

-Credit:Stoke Sentinel
-Credit:Stoke Sentinel

"Him and his mates from the army got a band together," explained Ian. "They used to play working men's clubs when they had bands on a Saturday night. They were called The Black Rows."

The family asked for donations to be made to Lichfield Armed Forces Veterans for those that wished to make a donation at the crematorium.

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