Army hero’s past as a male stripper

FACING down the Taliban in the life-threatening theatre of war is all in a day’s work for Lee Morris.

But it was not that long ago the former professional stripper was running away from a gang of women looking to rip his pants off.

Lee hit the headlines this week for helping to save fellow injured soldiers on the front line in Afghanistan. He was one of nine members of the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment caught up in a gun battle in the Upper Gereshk Valley in Helmand Province.

Lee, of Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent, suffered shrapnel wounds but raced into dangerous territory on a quad bike to rescue injured comrades. But for five years, the 28-year-old led a completely different life.

The former upholstery worker was part of the world famous Dreamboys and would jet off to sun-drenched islands and perform in his alter egos as Blaze and Stryker.

“Lee absolutely loved it,” said his dad Mickey, 48.

“I think he just plucked the names Blaze and Stryker from the air. His first gig was in the Manor Hotel in Crickhowell in 2000. I’m not sure how he got into it but I know he used to laugh when I would take my top off and dance after having a few drinks.”

After the gigs built up in his home town, Lee was spotted by a professional stripper linked to the Dreamboys.

“Lee would get lots of requests to do 40th or 18-year-old birthday parties,” said Mickey, who owns eight Welsh Cob Stallions and has been showing them off at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells.

“He would go around Brynmawr and Blaina, entertaining the women. My advice to him was always, be careful. Sometimes he ended up doing freebies and it cost him to put on shows because he used to buy props. When he was asked to join the Dreamboys, he travelled to lots of Spanish resorts such as Playa del Ingles and across the Canaries.

“He’d go out there for the summer then come home for Christmas and spend all his money, before going back out. He did that for about three years.”

But it didn’t always run smoothly.

Mickey said: “There was one gig in Birmingham when things got out of control. There were about 2,000 women in the audience and some were asked to join the dancers. All of a sudden, about a dozen climbed up and stormed the stage, knocking people over. Lee legged it.”

Lee eventually split with the group and went solo, performing as a kissogram, collecting all manner of suits.

“One night I was lying on the settee and Lee came in,” said Mickey, who used to spar with Joe Calzaghe in his Newbridge gym.

“He was carrying a small axe over his shoulder and he had a big grin on his face. I said, ‘what have you been up to tonight?’. He turned round and said, ‘I’ve been awesome’. What I meant was, who did he dress up as – a fireman as it turned out. That’s Lee in a nutshell. Full of life and ready for anything. He absolutely loved to strut his stuff.”

However, there were nights when Lee was left stranded in a pub with no clothes.

Mickey, who worked for British Coal for 12 years and is now manager at Ebbw Vale Festival Park, said: “Sometimes there were people – boyfriends or husbands, for example – who didn’t like the idea of a stripper performing. I had a call one night from Lee, asking me to take him his spare car keys. Someone had pinched his gear and he was left naked.”

Lee drifted out of stripping by training as a hairdresser in Cardiff and also went into modelling, before signing up for the Army.

“I don’t know what persuaded him to sign up,” said Mickey.

“He could’ve seen an advert in a magazine and thought, I’ll have some of that. Lee is impulsive and acts on the spur of the moment. But I really do think he’ll excel in the Army. At first I thought it was a status thing for him, so he could tell people he was a Paratrooper. But he’s committed and has made some close friends. He has experienced some pretty horrendous things in Afghanistan and spoken about the terror of bombs going off close by. As a father, obviously I worry about him and want him to be safe.”

Lee is due home on leave and his dad can’t wait. “I’m thinking of organising some kind of party for him.

“Maybe I’ll book some strippers,” Mickey said.


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