Meet The Team
Russ has followed in the footsteps of his father who performed as Clown Ki-Ko with Walker the Dog appearing on Billy Smarts Circus in the 1940’s – 50’s. Russ, a former Royal Marine has been an entertainer virtually all of his life. He started work in Children’s theatre, then worked in shopping centres, at children’s parties & performing street theatre. He has also worked in comedy bands, dance troupes, at Butlins & Warner Haven Holiday Camps and for Santus & Zippos Circuses
The recipient of two prestigious International Clown Awards, Happy was chosen to be one of the clowns in the Johnny Vaughan Show: ‘Clowns Across the Pennines’ which launched BBC3 in 2003. He has also appeared with Ainsly Harriott on ‘Celebrity Ready Steady Cook’. Radio Berkshire has travelled with Happy’s Circus & transmitted live broadcasts behind the scenes & during the show. When schools close for the summer holidays, Happy’s Circus has performed at numerous summer venues including Brean in Somerset, Charmouth & West Bay in Dorset, Burley in the New Forest & on Bournemouth Pier amongst many other theatres across the UK. For several years, at Christmas Happy’s circus introduced Santa’s Circus which performed to audiences at Washington, West Sussex & Eastleigh in Hampshire.
This in turn has led to performances as Dame in several pantomimes across the UK. But nothing has surpassed Russ’s proudest memory when he was invited to the Queen’s Garden Party in 2012 at Buckingham Palace. Russ is a member of Equity, The Association of Independent Showman & The European Circus Association. He is honoured to be treasurer of the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, a role which keeps him very busy.
He is passionate about the survival of Circus as family entertainment & was at the forefront of the campaign to ‘Save the Circus’, fighting & winning a better deal for circuses under new Entertainment Licensing Laws.
2018 marked the anniversary of 250 years since the creation of Circus, as we know it by Philip Astley. Particularly in this prestigious year, Russ was pleased to be invited to attend a Parliamentary Reception @ the Houses of Parliament which gave him the opportunity to talk to MPs about the future of Circus in the UK.
Director & General Manager
Pat is married to Mr Happy and began her career in Circus in 2012 and joined Happy’s Circus full time in April 2016.
She has several roles. As General Manager, she has overall responsibility for the operational side of the company. She is also Director of Promotions with responsibility for Marketing, Advertising and Promotions. She also co-ordinates Corporate engagements including the bookings for Festivals, Family Fun Days, Scout Events, Circus Weekends, Garden Centres, Holiday Parks, Weddings, Christmas engagements and Charities.
During the Circus Season, Pat also tours with the Blue Unit in the roles of Mrs Happy, Front of House Manager, Client Liaison and Merchandising Manager.
Pat is passionate about the future of Circus in the UK and the world. She is a firm supporter of the fight to recognise the culture of circus in the UK as part of UNESCO. UNESCO has to date only recognised three European countries (Hungary, Finland and the Netherlands), where Circus is perceived as being an important part of their culture. It is going to be a long battle which is disappointing since Circus as the world knows it today, originated in the UK.
Leeanne comes from a creative background and as a young child she won many dance competitions and was a keen singer, always performing to family and friends. Immediately after leaving school, she trained to become a nail technician. She developed this talent into a career which lasted for 13 years, running her own beauty business from home.
She moved away from beauty and began a career in customer service in 2015. Leeanne has amazing attention to detail and is totally driven to give an outstanding customer experience. If she doesn’t know the answer, no problem! She will find it for you
She has a passion for music and art and all things creative. Leeanne volunteers her time during the summer months at a music festival. She is always assigned to the Art Team and can sometimes live for two weeks in a tent!
“I have always had a fascination with the circus and been to see quite a few over the years, I love the magic and excitement it brings and I am honoured to be able to share this with you”
Leeanne has since discovered that she has a family connection to the creation of British Circus. It turns out that it was her great, great, great grandfather coined the word Circus! ”
(Phillip) Astley has been credited as the ‘father of modern circus.’ However Mr Charles Dibdin (1745 – 1814), British composer, musician, dramatist, novelist and actor, first coined the word ‘circus’. Dibdin copied Astley’s formula of dramatic equestrian entertainment by opening The Royal Circus a short distance from Astley’s Riding School.” and so became his great rival!
Customer Sales & Support Coordinator
Vanita joined Happy’s Circus in 2019.
She previously worked in business development within the Hospitality industry, as well as the public and corporate sectors.
Prior to this, she worked within Human Resources specialising in Payroll.
In 2001 she became very excited at the thought and made a brave decision based on…If we don’t do it now, we will never do it! So Vanita seized the opportunity to live and work in Australia with her partner and two children and the adventure extended to over ten years!
Whilst working in Australia she became involved in fundraising at the sharp end when her children attended nurseries and primary schools. She has experience in organising and running Primary School discos Aussie style. She realises that this experience was excellent preparation for her role at Happy’s Circus. Vanita provides excellent telephone support and is very good at turning a problem on it’s head and solving it.
“I am pleased to be a “Josser” and be part of the team supporting PTAs, schools, charities and businesses bringing the unique experience of a visit from Happy’s Circus to you.”