Lancashire

Blackpool honours star circus clown Charlie Caroli

New statue of Charlie Caroli and his son Charlie junior
Image caption The statue immortalises Charlie Caroli who is pictured with his son, Charlie Caroli junior

One of Blackpool's legendary clowns, who starred at the Tower Circus for 40 years, has been honoured in the town.

A six feet high (1.75m) glass fibre statue of Charlie Caroli has been unveiled in Blackpool's Stanley Park.

Mr Caroli, who died aged 70 in 1980, performed at the circus from 1939 until 1979.

Councillor Graham Cain, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture said the clown was synonymous with the town.

The statue has been created by local artist Brian Nicholson.

His son Charlie Caroli junior said it was fitting that the statue has been placed in the park's rose garden which his father liked to visit.

"It's been set up so that my dad's statue can still face towards the tower too, which is a nice touch," he said.

Mr Caroli junior added: "We actually did a lot of filming in the park for the BBC programme 'Right Charlie', and one day me and ringmaster Norman Barrett both fell in the lake. My dad thought it was hilarious."

Born in Italy to a circus family of French origin, Mr Caroli was performing in Blackpool when the Second World War broke out and never left the resort.

Reputedly he threw a watch, that had been given to him by Adolf Hitler when he performed in Munich, off one of the resort's piers when war broke out.

Charlie Caroli has been immortalised by rock groups including Chumbawamba whose song Just Desserts names the clown alongside 19th century Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin.

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