A talented schoolboy has become Britain’s youngest ever circus ringmaster – at the tender age of eight.
Edward Pinder landed the job at his family’s circus after the regular ringmaster lost his voice when he fell ill with tonsillitis.
The youngster, who learned his lines off by heart by watching every show, delivered a flawless performance and received a standing ovation from the 180-strong crowd.
During the last eight months Edward has played at least four times a week armed with his own microphone and custom-made ringmaster’s uniform and top hat.
Incredibly, his travelling lifestyle means that he attends classes at a different primary school every week before performing at night.
His parents Eddy and Erika Pinder, both 35, who live in Uppingham, Rutland, and run Pinder’s Family circus, one of Britain’s oldest, believe Edward is a ”born performer”.
Eddy said: ”We have never trained him to do it. He started last summer when our normal ringmaster Mike Lea had tonsillitis and we were in a panic to find a replacement.
”Edward watches every show so he knew all the lines and he was very good and the crowd absolutely loved him to bits.
”He’s a little star and a real born performer. We don’t push him into doing it and it’s more of a hobby for him after school.
”We’re really not sure if it’s going to be his career but he’ll keep doing it as long as he enjoys it. He’s even got his own top hat and custom tailored uniform.”
Edward has already learned a wide range of circus skills, including diablo sticks, juggling and tumbling, after he was born into one of Britain’s oldest circus families.
But in July last year he had to step in as circus ringmaster for the first time after veteran performer Mike Lea lost his voice.
Edward now gives a 1 hr 35 minute performance at least four times a week as his family circus, which has no animals, goes on its Spring tour of East Anglia.
He said: ”It’s a great standing in front of the crowd when they are all clapping and I really enjoy it.”
Proud mum Erika added: ”He really loves the attention when he’s out on stage and also enjoys the reaction he gets from the crowd.
”He makes hundreds of friends all around the country because he’s always learning at different schools.’