Video: That’s the way to do it! 11-year-old Tommy Bradshaw takes talents to new heights with his new Punch & Judy booth
Natural-born entertainer Tommy Bradshaw is pleased as Punch with his latest puppeteering prop.
The 11-year-old from Ipswich has been bringing to life the mischievous Punch and Judy cast since the tender age of four.
And now, thanks to an £800 grant and the artistry of a family friend, the Ormiston Endeavour Academy pupil is taking his talents to the next level.
Until recently Tommy had been exhibiting his extraordinary talents from a homemade stand constructed by his father, Darren.
But after applying for funding through the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust, the Chesterfield Drive youngster was handed an Inspiration Award to help pay for a new booth – handmade and decorated by Claydon-based Punch and Judy performer Miraiker Battey, who also creates his many puppets.
Having performed on several occasions to hundreds of people in Covent Garden, Tommy is believed to be the youngest performer of his kind in the country.
Mum, Gail, said: “We couldn’t afford to get him a new booth, and it wouldn’t have been fair on the other children. But this is what he loves to do and we found a way to support it.
“People love it. It’s a unique talent. People are always so surprised when a little boy appears at the end.”
Tommy, who has an 18-year-old brother, Charlie, and nine-year-old sister, Ellie, is already venturing into other forms of entertainment. He recently invested in a number of mascot costumes and can sometimes be found entertaining passers-by in Christchurch Park.
The Punch and Judy show, which he performs free of charge, has already taken several booking for birthday parties this year.
Tommy, whose favourite character is cheeky Mr Punch, said: “I just know it off by heart now. I stick mainly to the traditional stories but use lots of funny routines.
“It started as something I did for Halloween party and I’ve just kept going. I like everything about Punch and Judy.”