There was a baptism with a difference in Stamford last week as five-month-old twins George and Eileen Pinder were christened in a big top.
The pair, who were born into a famous circus family, were surrounded by clowns, acrobats and a ringmaster for the unsual ceremony.
Rev Nikki Mann, assistant curate at All Saints Church in Stamford, conducted the service on Thursday at Stamford Recreation Ground.
Proud parents Erika and Eddy Pinder were keeping hundreds of years of tradition alive by having their children christened inside the tent – a practice believed to bring good luck and health to the circus and its people.
Erika, 41, said: “My husband’s family have been running a circus for hundreds of years and children in the family are always christened in the big top. We were delighted Nikki could join us to conduct the service – it was a lovely occasion.
“George and Eileen are still very young, but as they get older we will get them involved in the show. By the time they are four or five, they’ll be able to choose what sort of acts they want to do.”
Erika’s husband Eddy, also 41, is from the oldest circus family in the UK.
The first Pinder’s circus started in 1850 – although a family member had married Thomas Ord, who already had a circus, in 1812.
As well as the twins, the couple also have a 14-year-old son, Edward, who is a talented circus performer and has appeared on Britain’s Got Talent where he got the opportunity to throw knives at Simon Cowell.
Unsurprisingly, Rev Mann said it was the first time she had done a christening in a circus. She said: “Most christenings are carried out in church but we do occasionally get asked to do them elsewhere.
“This was an unusual request but one I was more than happy to assist with and be a part of the celebration.
“It’s a 200-year-old tradition in the Pinder family and it was great to keep it going.
“We used a 200-year-old bowl from the church to tie in with that history.”
Erika and Eddy have been married for 15 years. They met while working with another circus – Erika as an aerial artist and Eddy a clown.
They live near Uppingham and spend eight months of the year on the road.