A young clown faces up to his first taste of the circus

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Garth Ellis, 7, being made up by his mother Kath in the build- up to his first public appearance as a clown. Garth first went to a circus when he was three and became captivated by the idea of appearing in the ring.

Tonight he will make his debut with Zippo's circus in Islington, north London, in the company of Zippo the clown, Stiffy and Tweedy, and Clown Alexis.

Zippo's, which describes itself as Europe's largest all-human circus, featuring 12 acrobats, will also be presenting horses for the first time in its 10-year history, featuring palominos.

Photograph: Geraint Lewis