The England rugby captain who turned me into an Oompa-Loompa

On the excellent website Sporting Heroes today, I discovered it was former Leicester and England rugby union star Paul Dodge's birthday.

I'm not much of a rugby union fan, despite my home town team, but I do have a strange claim to fame involving Mr Dodge.

The Loompaland rugby team celebrates another victory.

It was Christmas 1983 and I had a small part in my primary school production of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory: I was an Oompa-Loompa.  This required me to have my face coloured orange, my hair turned green, and to wear my PE kit with a pillow stuffed under my t-shirt.

Getting the cast ready for their performance was a demanding job, and much support was required backstage.  Many parents were involved in helping out the teachers, some of whom also had spousal assistance.  And it just so happened that one of the teachers with her husband in tow was Mrs Dodge.

I was too young (and probably too ignorant of rugby union) to be awe-struck, and probably mostly worried about having to go on stage and dance.  However, I am reliably informed that Paul Dodge helped with my make-up.

I am sure, as on the rugby field, he did a marvellous job.  I doubt I did, not least as I couldn't wear my glasses in the show, and was therefore stumbling around like a drunk in a fog.  Nonetheless, at least one photo of me as an Oompa-Loompa survives somewhere, and I think I'm smiling in it.

So thank you Mr Dodge, I hope you have a very happy birthday!