Spider-Man impersonators delight families on coronavirus lockdown

Harriet Brewis

Excitement has hit the streets of Greater Manchester thanks to a series of superhero sightings.

Not one, but two “Stockport Spider-Men” have been seen out on patrol, to the delight of children and their families stuck at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Jason Baird, 34, a martial arts instructor from Manchester, revealed his true identity and that of his lycra-clad accomplice.

The founder of Jason Baird’s Black Belt Academy said his colleague Andrew started the craze by dressing up as the comic book character for a video call to some of their students.

Jason Baird, 34, has been delighting his local community with his superhero alter-ego (PA)

Seeing the joy it brought to the young audience, Mr Baird borrowed a similar outfit from one of his friends to entertain families around their local area.

The pair are now going on daily runs dressed as their alter-egos, with requests for visits streaming in via Facebook.

“All my neighbours on the street, they’ve got teddy bears of Spider-Man in the windows, they’ve Sellotaped Spider-Man masks to lamp posts,” the 34-year-old said.

“It’s nice to see because it’s keeping me happy and sane as well. I went through a bit of a wobble. It’s keeping me busy and active.”

Families have been clamouring for a visit from the mysterious masked crusaders (PA)

The duo have only taken on the superhero roles since Monday, but have already accrued hundreds of social media followers.

“We had the whole family at the window waiting for Spider-Man to appear,” said one resident.

“We looked away for a moment and when we looked back he was suddenly there. I can’t express how much this lifted our spirits.”

Another added: “He waved at our neighbour and then came to our house and fired some webs. The kids loved it.

“When the kids can’t truly understand why they are stuck in and unable to see anyone, it was something that really brightened what are becoming long days.”

Mr Baird said he closed his martial arts school early to prevent the risk of spreading coronavirus.

He has been following social distancing rules on his runs, and even shares activities and challenges for local children to occupy themselves with.

He and Andrew plan to continue with their runs at midday in the area, news which will delight local children and others besides.

“I had the binmen yesterday filming, they stopped and got their phones out!” said Mr Baird.

“I’ll do this every day as long as my legs hold out. It’s just to keep everyone smiling.”