It was back in September 1976 that the owner, Jon Miller, first got the taste of Circus life. Visiting the Circus field in Woking around 6:30am on his push bike, he was in awe of the array of all the Circus transport & caravans that had arrived through the night. Jon saw one of the men walking round in a large circle with a rope & making marks on the grass. These actually were the points where all the big stakes were to be driven into to anchor the Big Top down. The owner asked if Jon wanted to help out for the week for some free tickets. Well, what a question, of course! So it was then that his future seemed decided! That week, every day after school, he rushed home, got changed & off to the Circus he went! There the smell of the sawdust, candy floss & popcorn was calling. Along with the magic of flashing lights & the excited audiences queuing for their tickets, he was amazed to see those ordinary people he knew during the day, to then be transformed into these amazing characters with make up & sequins. He even got to lead the liberty horses into the ring at one performance! At the end of the week, the Circus packed up to move. Jon threw his trusted bicycle in to the back of the straw wagon, climbed in & off he went…To Run Away With The Circus! The story gets a little more complicated from here on! But from this incredible adventure, he was brought home. (Children take note at this point!) Spoken to by his parents – finished his schooling, went on to college, qualified as a Civil Engineer, worked on the Fairgrounds at the weekends & holidays as the funfair travelled locally, but he always kept the Circus close to his heart.In the mid 80’s, a Circus came to the town where Jon was working & he visited the show, afterwards asking if they were looking for staff. They were & within the week, he bought a caravan & changed his life…he ran back to the Circus !It was there he learnt all aspects about Circus life, including something that customers never seem to realise : Circus people are often found working through the night in all weathers, to ensure the show always goes on as advertised. After some four years, it was a now or never moment & he made the decision that he would go it alone and take out his own Circus (something that he had dreamt of all these years from his first encounter). So in 1986, the preparations started on a very tight budget (a bank would never loan to such a crazy idea). He bought two lorries, a generator that had seen better days, although reliable, sourced a small Circus tent (a Big Top) built seating. He then found a printer for posters, tickets & programmes, who kindly allowed him to pay once he opened. Found six Circus artistes who believed he could do it & off he went. Jay Millers Circus had arrived & opened in Broughton, Hampshire, on the field behind the Village Hall in March 1987.
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