DESCRIBED as the ‘juvenile bad boy from Wales’ who became an upright citizen teaching himself to fly along the way, Brynley Fussell is no ordinary man. At 86-years-of-age he is still flying and sailing. A man of slight build and deceptively quiet character, which in no way reflects what he has been through during his lifetime. Sent to a detention centre at the age of 10 for accidentally setting light to a hay rick resulted in years at penal institutions where he was brutally treated, raped and starved of food and love. It was a time of an unforgiving society where people’s crimes however slight barred them from a place at the table in society other than with their own kind.
Brynley embarked on what he considered the only option for his sanity. He escaped, time and time again only to get caught each time and suffer more time in detention centres. After a young life of crime and continual escapes Brynley was offered the hand of friendship from Geoffrey Dorman a journalist, a British test pilot and a member of the British Union of Fascists.
Dorman promised to set Fussell on the right path and in the subsequent years that followed Fussell continued his escapes but under the umbrella of a ‘free’ man purchasing sailing boats and attempting to sail to New Zealand, flying planes and microlights and blagging his way into jobs including running a research centre at Swansea university. By his own admission he says that he received no education other than through reading books.
You can watch the preview of the film we made documenting Brynley’s life here: