A beloved clown who has graced Southend high street for the past 25 years has thanked residents as he celebrates his landmark achievement.

Salvo the clown first popped up in the City in 1997 looking to bring his brand of fun to the masses. However, he ran into difficulties in his early days and was forced to shut down on numerous occasions by council trading standards teams who said he was not allowed to collect donations in the area.

He eventually won them around and has been charming people ever since. To recognise his achievement a ribbon-cutting ceremony acknowledging his service was held by the mayor, Maragret Borton.  

Salvo’s links to Essex stretch even further than his clown years having lived at Hart Road’s mobile home park in Thundersley since 1978.   

Echo: Salvo and the mayor Margaret Borton at his silver jubilee celebrations. Image: Gaz de Vere.Salvo and the mayor Margaret Borton at his silver jubilee celebrations. Image: Gaz de Vere.

While he says there have been changes in the role, with ‘killer clowns’ seen in films such as It making him more a scarier figure to some, he said there have been plenty of highs during his years bringing joy to people in Southend.

He said: “On the whole I enjoy myself down here. I don’t class it as work because I enjoy it so much. That’s why I’ve been doing it for 25 years.

“The embarrassing part for me that make me feel old is when parents come down with their children and remind me that I entertained them when they were little.”

He added: “The one thing I’ll never forget is a young lad aged 6 or 7 in a push buggy. I used to blow up balloons and pass it to the child and this particularly lad grabbed one. His parents told me ‘this is the first time he’s used that hand.’ Things like that stick in my mind.”

Echo: Salvo with some fellow clownsSalvo with some fellow clowns

His career as a clown is not Salvo’s only venture as for the past nine years he has been baking ‘clown cakes’ for those homeless and vulnerable people at the Saint Vincent’s Centre on Short Street.

Despite his achievements he has no intentions to stop anytime soon, saying he will only put the make up away when his health deteriorates, or he does a ‘Tommy Cooper’ and dies on the job.

He added: “I wouldn’t be able to continue if it wasn’t for the support of the people. I’m happy doing things the way I do them, hopefully I’ve got quite a few more years.”