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WATCH: World's biggest gathering of clowns comes to Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 12:20 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 06 February 2020

Clowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Clowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

For some, they are said to bring back visions of Batman's Joker and other scary on-screen creations.

Andrew Davis (Andy the Clown) and Martin Bingham (McB the Clown)    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAndrew Davis (Andy the Clown) and Martin Bingham (McB the Clown) Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

But Lowestoft is said to have welcomed this bunch of clowns "with open arms, love and affection" - because the seaside resort has, unusually, become their spiritual home.

Despite being the UK's most easterly point, the town has hosted the biggest gathering of clowns at the annual World Clown Association (WCA) Convention since 2015.

Colourful entertainers from as far away as America pack their brightly-coloured clothes, oversized boots and comedy hats for a week on the Suffolk coast for a week of performances and workshops, where they can learn tips on how to have audiences in raptures with their comedy routines.

Last year, the WCA tried holding it in Birmingham in the belief it might be a little easier for busy clowns to get to.

Deanna Hartmier (DeeDee the Clown) has travelled from Canada  to attend the convention    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDeanna Hartmier (DeeDee the Clown) has travelled from Canada to attend the convention Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Yet somehow it didn't have the same appeal as the coastal resort, which has very much taken them to heart.

Even clowns, organisers say, need a time where they can come together with like-minded self-confessed buffoons to discuss tricks of the trade - with this year's convention including a masterclass by comedy legend Freddie Davis, who rose to fame on 1960s talent show Opportunity Knocks.

Yet as well as learning all sorts of tomfoolery from one another, the clowns also give back to their hosts - this year by holding a series of performances at Pakefield's Seagull Theatre and even taking over Beacon Bingo for one night only.

Current WCA president, convention organiser and Lowestoft-based performer Andrew Davis, who you might know better as Andy the Clown, said: "We've had a wonderful reception.

Plop and McB clowning around on the beach  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPlop and McB clowning around on the beach Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"We have been well-received by Lowestoft. Everyone has been wonderful."

Much is often made of the fear of clowns - or coulrophobia, as it is known.

It is not helped by fake clowns jumping out in front of people the street to scare people.

However Mr Davis feels the fear of clowns is overblown by the media - particularly as the professionals take great care not to cause unnecessary alarm, especially when performing in front of young audiences.

Clowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNClowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said: "All the reaction we've had has been positive. We just don't feel the negativity. People are more scared of bananas than they are clowns.

"People have welcomed us with open arms, love and affection."

Another myth, he says, is that clowning is an old-fashioned trade less popular than it was. "We're so busy we have very little room for more work," he said.

The convention began on Monday, February 4 and lasts five days in total.

Susie Maxwell-Stuart  (Susie Oddball) at the world clown convention     Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSusie Maxwell-Stuart (Susie Oddball) at the world clown convention Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

EEK  the clown (Martyn Cooper)   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEEK the clown (Martyn Cooper) Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Clowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNClowns from across the globe have gathered together in Lowestoft for the world clown convention Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Martin Bingham  (McB the Clown)    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMartin Bingham (McB the Clown) Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Andrew Davis (Andy the Clown) clowning around at the  world clown convention in Lowestoft   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAndrew Davis (Andy the Clown) clowning around at the world clown convention in Lowestoft Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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