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Circus world mourns acrobat 300 mourn acrobat's death

More than 300 people filled a church yesterday for the funeral of Neville Campbell, an acrobat, who plunged to his death before a horrified crowd at Blackpool Tower circus on Boxing Day. Friends and relatives wept as the oak coffin was carried int o church to the sounds of his favourite rock band, Guns 'n' Roses.

Campbell, 20, died when he fell from the Wheel of Death. His partner on the high wire at the time of the accident, Brian Goddard, was one of the pall-bearers. The others included Campbell's brothers Richard, 22, Carl and Kristian, both 18.

The congregation heard how Campbell was born to circus life. He was baptised in the ring and his first stunt was doing head stands in the laundry basket as a toddler. Circus people from all over Britain were at the funeral in St Mary and All Saints parish church near the family home at Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

The Rev Rob Gladstone told them: "Nev, as he was known, grew up in the circus. He was walking on stilts at the age of three. Soon he was sending his mum to Oxfam for materials to make clown costumes. He was always the leader. But his main ambition in life was to be the star act in the Blackpool Tower circus. He achieved this at a uniquely young age."