Children’s favourite clown Uncle Michael retires - VIDEO SLIDESHOW

After 25 years of magic and laughter a popular Matlock clown has hung up his pink wig and colourful suit for the last time.

Uncle Michael has been entertaining children across Derbyshire for more than two decades but has taken the difficult decision to retire from his popular role.

SP68138 Ashover May Day Uncle Michael finds himself a young assistant Jenny Hammond.

SP68138 Ashover May Day Uncle Michael finds himself a young assistant Jenny Hammond.

Dressed in his trademark wig and bright outfit, Uncle Michael - alias Michael Fentem of Woolley Road - has become a familiar face to thousands of youngsters.

He said: “It’s been a fantastic 25 years but I’ve come to an age when my spirit is willing but unfortunately my body is not quite as willing.”

Michael, who previously worked in printing at the Matlock Mercury for 20 years, started his colourful career after joining the town’s carnival.

His talents were spotted and he went on to perform at hundreds of parties.

Michael, 61, said: “I have very happy memories and absolutely loved every minute. I’ve met thousands of wonderful children and parents and I’m now doing parties for the children of the children I first entertained.

“It’s a traditional show, quite old-fashioned in some ways, but it still never fails to raise a smile. It’s a great feeling making people laugh and the basic humour appeals to children. Laughter really does make the world go round.”

Well-known for his bright pink Fiat car, complete with flashing lights and smoke, he has travelled extensively around the country as well as working at the Heights of Abraham and Masson Mill, doing as many as 60 shows a month during busy times.

His career also saw him make many television performances, his own tape and star in the film The Improbable Son.

Uncle Michael’s last show at Crich Carr Primary School brought an end to the legend in town children’s lives.

He said: “I’ve done the Christmas party for Crich Carr for the last 17 years and I ended on a high.” The show closed with the classic ‘custard-pie in face’ gag which went down a storm with his audience.

He added: “I ended with the custard pie as one of the children said it would hide the tears. I had a little cry. It was a lovely way to end.”

Michael will continue to work for MAST - Matlock Area Schools Trust - within schools conducting assemblies on behalf of town churches.

He said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family - wife Mandy and his three sons.