Burton Mail

CHIMP NEARLY TORE OFF SAS STAR OLLIE’S ARM

SAS: WHO DARES WINS STAR RECALLS INCIDENT AT BURTON CIRCUS

- By HELEN KREFT helen.kreft@reachplc.com @helen_kreft

SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton has revealed the horrific moment he was attacked by a chimp after wandering into a travelling circus in Burton.

The ex-special Forces operative, who previously starred on the Channel 4 show with Ant Middleton, says he almost died when the chimpanzee essentiall­y left half of his arm hanging off.

He was just 10 years old when the terrifying events took place.

Matthew ‘Ollie’ Ollerton, was a pupil at Abbot Beyne School until he joined the Royal Marines in 1989, aged 18. He went on to join the elite Special Air Service (SAS).

Looking back on what happened, he told Youtubers the Mulligan Brothers: “There was a large part missing ... half my arm was just hanging off.”

It was in 1980 when he stumbled across a travelling circus with his brother when they were heading to swimming in Burton.

He said: “We were just crossing the River Trent – across the bridge – when we saw the big top setting up.

“We were so excited that our walked turned into a run – and before we knew it we were at the circus.”

The boys were allowed to look around by someone who worked with the circus, but young Ollie got separated from the group.

After looking at some of the animals, he headed into another tent, where he found a baby chimp.

He explained: “I could see some light partially coming through the door. And I walked over to it. As soon as I opened the door, the sunlight hit me in the face, blurred my vision and then, all of a sudden when my vision cleared, I saw something that was amazing. Something that had me in a semi-state of shock.

“To me, this was like a little piece of Hollywood. I was brought up on cats and dogs. This was a baby chimp in Burton.”

Curious, Ollie walked closer to the “beautiful little chimp”, saying it stared at him with “big brown eyes” in a “surreal” moment.

Ollie says he felt like he had “connected” with the chimp, describing their encounter as an “amazing moment” before things went horribly wrong.

He explained: “All of a sudden, the serenity of that moment was broken like a fighter jet in the sky when I heard the roar of something. I’ll never forget that roar. I can still hear that roar to this day.

“As I looked into the background there were some shadows, there was a trailer parked there, but the whole area was enclosed – and something was moving. And it roared again.”

The shadowy figure was the protective mother of the baby chimp – weighing around 50kg.

“It was making its way towards me at Mach 10,” he recalled. “It was doing the whole sideways chimp thing. And it was roaring. It was absolutely ferocious.

“It wanted to do one thing – and that was to kill me and protect its baby.”

Ollie says he did not have time to react before the mother chimp leapt over her baby and landed on Ollie, launching a savage attack.

He said: “I was like a deer in the headlights, but I thought ‘s**t, I’ve got to move.’ And as I thought that, this chimp pounced straight through the air – it must’ve been about 20ft – straight over the baby chimp.

“And all of a sudden, the blue sky turned to black and this thing landed on top of pinned me. It pinned me to the floor and started going about me trying to kill me.

“It was like a drummer in a rock band. It was smashing down with its fists onto my chest. The first one winded me – knocked everything out of me – then it started trying to kill me.

“At one point I looked up and I knew that if I didn’t do something I was going to die.”

Ollie says he snapped out of it and began to react when he saw “blood flying around”.

He somehow managed to push the chimp away from his chest enough so he could lift his knees up and kick it away.

“That gave me just enough space just to scurry away and then this chimp got up and it came on its final attack to kill me,” he said.

He says he would be dead if it wasn’t for its chain.

Ollie did not realise how badly he was hurt until a shocked woman who worked for the circus came running to help him.

He said: “At that point she put her hand around my wrist and turned it over. And she was in a state of shock. And as she turned it over... half my arm was just hanging out. “That was the worst damage. There was blood everywhere – and she pretty much fainted.”

He was rushed to hospital where doctors managed to save his arm. He faced another nightmare weeks later though when he developed gangrene and almost lost his arm for a second time.

Years later, Ollie, now 50, says the ordeal taught him a valuable lesson. He said: “I had to step into the short-term discomfort for any longterm gain. The long-term was living that day – the short-term discomfort was taking the fight to the chimp. “That’s how people live their lives. They’re not prepared to step into that discomfort knowing that on the other side of that is the longterm gain.

“The way we’re wired, and this is the way people operate, is everyone is taking short-term comfort. Whether that’s drugs, drink, relationsh­ips, job choices – all the choices they make knowing that there’s a level of comfort there.

“If you want to achieve anything in life, you need to take short-term discomfort for long-term gain.”

It wanted to do one thing – and that was to kill me and protect its baby.

Ollie Ollerton

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 ?? ROBERT WILSON ?? Ollie Ollerton has appeared in Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and wrote the book Battle Ready
ROBERT WILSON Ollie Ollerton has appeared in Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and wrote the book Battle Ready

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