AS A YOUNG boy, strongman Mike Williams was the victim of two acts of horrific violence. He was raped by an older boy when he was seven years old, and later subjected to a beating by one of his teachers.

In an interview with the Argus, Mr Williams speaks candidly about the mental scars he still carries from his childhood trauma, and how he believes they have given him the strength to focus his adult life on raising thousands of pounds for good causes.

Mr Williams made a name for himself as a weightlifter in the ‘90s, but went on to make headlines – including numerous mentions in the Argus – for his extraordinary feats of strength, pulling carnival floats, lorries, and double-decker buses for charity.

Twelve months ago, Mr Williams published his story, again hoping to raise money for charity.

Now, one year after its publication, Mr Williams looks back on a life dedicated to helping others, motivated by a past that he cannot forget.

Seven-year-old Mr Williams was playing with his sister and a friend when they were approached by an older bully.

“[He] was wearing a yellow t-shirt that had a picture of two naked people on it,” Mr Williams wrote in his book, The Truth.

“He saw me, pointed to his t-shirt, and said ‘I’m going to do this to you’.

“At that moment I screamed and ran as fast as I could. I ran into the orchard next door where there was an old, abandoned house and hid in there, but he caught me. And then he raped me.

“I just remember screaming and screaming and screaming.”

Mr Williams, now 53, kept his experience secret for more than 40 years, as well as another incident in which a teacher brutally attacked him in the school bathroom, kicking him repeatedly as he lay curled up on the floor.

“People were shocked when I told them,” Mr Williams said in an interview this week. “To be honest I come across as a hard man, but I had to do that to survive.

“But that image isn’t me. That’s why I put the book out there. I want people to know the real Mike Williams. I just want to help people.”

Mr Williams embarked on a successful powerlifting career, in which he represented Wales, and later turned to more spectacular performances, beginning in 1995 when he pulled the 23-tonne winning float in Cwmbran carnival.

Subsequent truck pulls, which always drew in large crowds, raised thousands of pounds for good causes, including for Cancer Research and to pay towards treatment for Amber Hartland, a young girl from Cwmbran who had been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.

Over a 20-year fundraising career, Mr Williams raised a total of £50,000 for charity, a remarkable achievement for someone who turned to weightlifting as a teenager as a way to distract himself from his troubles at home.

He said: “At 14 I left home, because I was being bullied by the teacher and because I’d had a bust-up with my father, who didn’t believe me [about the beating].

“I went to live with my sister. I didn’t go outside of the house for a year because I was so depressed.”

While at his sister’s house, Mr Williams read a book by then-world champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was inspired.

“I had a look at what Schwarzenegger said, and I wanted to be just like him,” Mr Williams said. “I had so much strength, I knew it could be a good thing or a bad thing.”

Mr Williams has never looked back, enjoying a successful career weightlifting, truck-pulling, marathon running, and even in his forties a short stint as a boxer.

His determination to succeed has been fuelled by his own personal pain, both through losing his parents and through the terrible incidents in his past.

“I had so much hate and anger in me, it wasn’t a nice place to be but I channelled it all into something I wanted,” Mr Williams explained.

He added: “I’m now in a good place, and I go to church. I live in Merthyr Tydfil now but I’m moving back to Cwmbran this year.”