Clowning around with the nativity

Priest Roly Bain at Rectory C E School Ashton with Kelly Morton
Priest Roly Bain at Rectory C E School Ashton with Kelly Morton

THE story of the Nativity was told in a unique way at two Wigan schools when a rather unusual visitor came to call.

Father Roly Bain - a fully ordained Anglican priest and a full-time, freelance professional clown - dropped in to Rectory Primary School in Ashton on Friday and then the Holy Trinity in Downhall Green church on Sunday.

He met children and hosted workshops at the school about the art of being a clown, all the time spreading the world of the nativity.

The visit was organised by Archdeacon Peter Bradley.

Father Bain spent Friday with the children showing and teaching clowning skills as well as telling the Christmas Story from the perspective of a Jester at the stable.

The children then developed their own clowning skills throughout the day.

On Saturday two workshops were held in the school and on Sunday there was a special clowning service taken by Roly with the help of the children.

Year three pupil Mathew Phythian thought that the visit was, ‘Fantastic!’ and he ‘learnt to balance a pole on his finger and on his chin’.

Little Nia added ‘It was brilliant! I learnt to pedal on fun wheels’.

Father Bain has spent the last 20 years touring the world in his unique role.

Headteacher, Janet Prowse, said: “We have all had a fantastic time and learnt new skills as well as reflecting on the Christmas message.”

Fr Bain’s dream of becoming a clown started when he was just eight-years-old after he read the biography of Coco.

Instead, he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1978 but still wanted to keep up his clowning antics. In the early eighties, he founded Holy Fools, a group committed to clowning in ministry and worship.

Fr Bain now spends time travelling all over the world preaching the word of God through the mode of clowning around.

Fr Bain, said: “I’ve been doing this for around 20 years now and I’ve travelled all over the world doing so.

“It reaches further than just children too – I’ve visited about 60 prisons as well.

“If I make people laugh, which I hope to do, then I know I have done my job.

“It’s always been well received and often children will come up to me afterwards and ask if I was really there!”