Race is on to unmask Reading's very own Batman and Robin

Reading Evening Post

THEY used to clean up the mean streets of Gotham City – but now the Caped Crusader and his loyal sidekick are taking on a new challenge.

That’s right folks! Batman and Robin have been on the streets of Whitley, saving damsels in distress, scaring wrongdoers and even chasing naked men from football pitches.

Like a re-run of Del Boy and Rodney’s dash through Peckham, the crime-busting pair have been spied sprinting along Northumberland Avenue, but unlike the Only Fools and Horses television pair, these two have been real-life heroes.

Yesterday we made a Bat Call to our readers to find out the crime-busters’ true identity after they were spotted shooing off a pair of cheeky streakers at the Jack Taylor TRS Trophy football final at about 5pm on Easter Sunday.

And the Bat-Phone rang off the hook with other sightings.

Michelle Kirby, from Whitley, was
stranded in Whitley Wood Lane when her Peugeot 206 ran out of petrol on Easter Sunday.

But our Batman and Robin appeared out of nowhere to save the day and push her car to the nearest petrol station.

“They just appeared. I saw them running down the road in Batman and Robin outfits – I was laughing so much,” she said. “It was like a scene out of Only Fools and Horses and they stayed in character the whole time.

“They said, ‘I’m Batman, I’m Robin’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not’ and asked them if they were going to a fancy dress party but they said they were going back to Gotham City.”

After seeing Miss Kirby to safety, the pair disappeared along Basingstoke Road.

And Whitley Wood man Ray Cox, 61, spotted the caped crusaders at about 11.30am after doing his
morning shopping.

“I said to my wife, ‘It would make it a better and safer place with these men’,” he said.

“There are so many muggings in Whitley and these two running down the road really looked great – get these chaps back.

“Batman was quite a broad chap. They would scare a few muggers off and I’d feel safer in Whitley.”

Another shy caller, who wished to remain anonymous, claims to have been helped by the pair, who faced down somebody who was intimidating him.

And another anonymous caller, who may know more than he let on about the duo’s real identities, reported a further sighting.

He suggested the pair had been among demonstrators who clambered to the top of the Engineers Arms pub in Whitley a few years ago in protest of a proposed name change for the pub.

“I knew of them because some time back they did a rooftop protest which got on the television – something to do with changing the pub’s name to The Fisherman,” he said.

“So these two sprung into action – they were heroes.”

He added: “I also saw them on Sunday running down the streets of Whitley around lunchtime – out of Northumberland Avenue on to Whitley Wood Road.

“Then at the cup final they ordered the streakers off the pitch and then disappeared, jumped into a car and drove off.”

He could not confirm if this was the Batmobile and refused to give up the names.

Will our dubious duo be back on the streets of Whitley again? Will Boy Wonder get a pair of green tights to fit? And most importantly, who are the masked duo?

Tune into the Evening Post for our next exciting episode to find out.

And meanwhile, call the Bat-Phone on (0118) 918 3009 with sightings – or to let us know if the whole thing is a holy hilarious prank Batman!

All together again - Whitley's Batman and Robin with damsel in distress Michelle Kirby

Batman and Robin: The movie

09/10/04 - Reading Evening Post

GOTHAM City’s Batman and Robin may be stars of the silverscreen, but Whitley’s very own caped crusaders are now movie stars in their own right.

The dynamic duo first captured our hearts chasing two streakers off the pitch at a Sunday league football final on Easter Sunday.

Now the heroic pair have filmed Batman Five: The Mini Movie for a satellite TV channel.

The feature, filmed by the company Reality TV, will be screened this autumn.

It re-enacts some of the duo’s exploits around Reading and reunites the pair with a damsel in distress they helped in Easter.

Michelle Kirby was left stranded in Hartland Road when her car ran out of petrol and the superheroes were on hand to push it to a petrol station.

Batman said: “The TV work was brilliant. Robin and I took to it like ducks to water.

“What was really great was as we were filming on Wednesday cars driving by were tooting their horns, waving and screaming from their windows.

“It was unbelievable – kids were even stopping to have their photos taken with us.”

Keep an eye on your Evening Post to find out exactly when the movie will be aired.

Holy Happy Hour Robin
Caped duo hit the roof to save pub

03/01/05 - Reading Evening Post

NOT content with just saving damsels in distress, Batman and Robin have now turned their attentions to the doomed Engineers Arms.

The caped crusaders – who have made sporadic appearances over the past year doing good deeds – emerged from their Batcave to scale the roof of the pub in Whitley Wood on Sunday to show their support for the fight to save the boozer from demolition.

The 30-minute protest quickly attracted vocal support from people living nearby, including a dozen excited children brandishing ‘We love you Batman’ placards.

In an exclusive interview with the dynamic duo’s favourite paper, Batman hailed the protest a success.

He told the Evening Post: “The local people who make this community tick have fought hard to save the pub from demolition so myself and Robin thought it was our duty to do something to help.

If it means getting on a roof to help the great people of Whitley to fight the villains who want to close our pub than we will get on every roof in Reading.”

Owner New Wood Inns plans to pull down the pub to make way for apartments.

Steve Heard, leader of the Engineers Arms Action Group, said: “We have done everything to make the owners change their minds but they will not listen to us.

“We have offered to clean up the pub and manage it for them but it seems they are determined to knock it down.

“We want to thank Batman and Robin for helping us get this issue noticed, this pub is an integral part of the community and we won’t let it go without a fight.”

The stunt is part of the long campaign by the group to save the Engineers Arms.

New Wood Inns director Dominic Stokes was adamant that despite protests and squatters, the pub will not be reopen.

Mr Stokes said: “There is no chance that we will be using the site as a pub. It is not a viable option. We bought the pub in good faith to run it as a successful business but the locals have not treated it with any respect and after recommendations from the police we decided to close it.

“We are a pub company but The Engineers Arms was like throwing money down a black hole so we have decided to use the land for another development.”

The pub shut its doors last November after a campaign of violence and vandalism that saw Thames Valley Police called to it 44 times in a year.

Campaigners were given renewed optimism after borough planning councillors unanimously refused the redevelopment plans last November.

Councillors said getting rid of the pub – no matter how troubled it had been – would deprive Whitley people of an important leisure facility and the development was too large.

New Wood Inns has not reapplied but restated its intention to push forward with plans to build a housing development on the site.

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