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Norwegian joins Dalston's quirky annual "Clown's Church" service

PUBLISHED: 19:26 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 19:26 03 February 2014

Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.

Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.

Archant

A clown from as far afield as Norway turned up this year to join in the quirky annual church service dedicated to the art of clowning.

Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.

Around 40 members of clowning organisation Clowns International turned up at Dalston’s Holy Trinity Church on Sunday in their full garb, to remember the father of modern clowning, Joseph Grimaldi - the first gagster to paint his face white.

The church in Beechwood Road was full to overflowing as hordes descended on to witness the bizarre sight, along with just as many photographers.

Dating back to 1947, the service began in a Pentonville Road church, but when it was destroyed by fire in 1959 it moved to Holy Trinity which is now known as the ‘Clown’s Church’.

Secretary of Clowns International Antony Eldridge said it was one of the “best ever” services, which saw people travel as far as South Wales and Worcestershire.

Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.Clowns gather at the annual Clowns' Church Service for the memory of English actor Joseph Grimaldi at Dalston's Holy Trinity Church.

“Sometimes events can be a bit crunchy, sometimes they flow, but everyone enjoyed themselves immensely this year.
“We even had a clown in the show from Norway, he wanted to see the service and be in the clown show, he was a really happy bunny - it doesn’t seem to have lost its attraction.”

Candles were lit during the service led by parish vicar and chaplain to Queen and Parliament, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, to remember clowns who have passed away over the last year.

Pip the clown also performed an act on the steps of the alter, which gave the impression she was creating water.

Mr Eldridge said: “It was poured into a bag on an unsuspecting person’s head and it looked like it was going to go over her - it didn’t of course.

“I could see Rose’s mouth wide open with amazement.

“That’s what clowning is about, keeping people wondering and capturing their interest, people like surprises you know.”

Clowns treated children and adults alike to a clowning show after the service in the adjacent church hall.

The performer from the Young Actors Theatre who will play Grimaldi in “Islington The Opera” later this month also came along in costume.

“We told him he is one of the best looking replicas of Grimaldi we’ve ever seen,” said Mr Eldridge.

“We showed him the artifacts that are still put around the church on special occasions, we have one of the souvenir china replicas of Grimaldi that was sold in the theatres where he performed - of course this young fellow looked appearance wise very much like these little models, the person responsible for the show has clearly done their homework.”

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