|A Zippos horse with ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE|
The horses and budgies of Zippos circus were blessed upon their arrival in Brighton and Hove when Jerome Lloyd, the local Archbishop of Selsey performed the formal ceremony in the big top.
The clergyman told local newspaper, the Argus: “My relationship with Zippo’s began in 2009 when I walked the tight rope without any safety harness for the Sussex Beacon. I became a sort of unofficial chaplain for them. When Reverend Roly Bain died – the renowned priest who also performed as a clown – I took over from him as their official chaplain. Every since then I’ve come back to visit the circus – there’s an affinity with the performers.”
According to Zippos owner Martin Burton: “Circus people generally are very religious. People who risk their lives are very spiritual. You’ll often see the performers crossing themselves backstage before a stunt.
“In the circus community the most wonderful thing is that we have people from all sorts of faiths,” Burton added. “They all work together for the common good. It’s a wonderful thing, I often think the world should live like a circus.”
Zippos is in Hove until September 3.