Punch and Judy man celebrates 25 years

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Punch and Judy man Ray Sparks will be celebrating 25 years on Eastbourne seafront this summer, in his regular spot on the Wish Tower.

One of the few Punch and Judy men in the country to work a show at a seafront venue, Ray finds he is now entertaining the children, of the children he performed to when he started with the same traditional show.

His career has seen many interesting venues including The BT tower Restaurant in London, and Buckingham Palace Police Guard.

At one point a few years ago Ray was the only Punch and Judy man between Bournemouth and Margate, working Worthing, Bognor, Brighton, Hastings, Dover, and Sandwich.

He has also made numerous television appearances the last one being with Comedian Jo Brand, who filmed his Punch and Judy show as part of her series The Big Splash.

Despite working across the country in the past, Ray tends to stay relatively local.

He is popular at village fetes, steam fairs, schools and of course Eastbourne seafront. He regularly gives talks on the history of Punch and Judy, as well as carving his own puppets.

As a celebration he and his wife Jacqui are planning a special day to mark his quarter century with a celebratory show on the usual site behind the RNLI Museum on August 25.

Ray said, “The anniversary show will have additional surprises and, although as ever all the seafront shows are free, there will be a collection for the Children with Cancer Fund, which recently won a Queens Award.”

This year’s Punch and Judy Shows will take place during on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the school summer holidays at 12.30pm and 2pm.

However, the shows will not take place on the Thursday of Airbourne week.