Community pulls together after tragedy for the magic of the circus
Many families will remember the colourful long-haired ringmaster that welcomed our children to their seats and clowned around under the lights of the big-top.
Tragically, Alan the ringmaster passed away on Sunday night due to a suspected heart attack.
Phillip, a crewman with the circus, came into the Pilbara Echo office to share his condolences, but also give a message back to the community of Karratha that they are overwhelmed by our town’s support.
Phillip said Alan was celebrating at the tent after the show as three of his work-mates were celebrating their birthdays with a barbecue.
“Alan came back and he was his jolly old self, he had one beer and then that was it.”
Phillip mentioned that although Alan was jovial leading up to the suspected heart attack, Alan said to Phillip earlier in the day that he didn’t feel right.
“He came to talk to me on that morning and said ‘Phil I don’t know whats wrong with me, I’m just so tired,’ but he said he was alright” said Phillip.
Phillip says the team has pulled together and are doing relatively good.
“Everybody is still devastated, but it’s one big family here.
“Alan was the first one who came up and shook my hand when I started at the circus so he’s a good friend to me,” said Phillip.
Phillip recalled with such emotion in his voice the support from the community.
He told of sitting at the beach in Point Samson and speaking to a local woman who consoled Phillip after his loss.
The local woman, Yanna Henry, wrote a public appeal on Facebook for Karratha residents to come together for the circus community.
“Today I met three of the staff of the Moscow Circus who were out at Point Samson, who had taken time away to try and comprehend their loss.
“Last night the ringmaster tragically and unexpectedly passed away due to a heart attack,”she wrote.
“I would like to do something for the circus crew as we know how hard it is when something like this happens and being so far away from loved ones.
“Any ideas on how we as a community can support the crew at a time like this?”
When shown Yanna Henry’s public appeal, Phillip’s appreciation was overflowing.
“She is a beautiful lady,” said Phillip.
“The community spirit is beautiful, it’s like the magic of the circus.
“It’s a very sad moment for us all but I think Alan would have said ‘the show’s got to go on guys because I’m going fishing forever.’”
Ringmaster Greg Hall contacted the Pilbara Echo afterward to express his thanks to the community.
“We are absolutely stunned.
“One of the first things that happened when we reopened the box office was someone came in with a bunch of flowers.
“The next two people that turned up asked how they could help,” he said.
The people of Karratha have offered assistance in many forms, from offering to cook, to running errands.
Greg Hall said there has been hundreds of condolence messages.
The circus members held a farewell party for Alan on Friday and although it was originally intended for the circus crew, after realising the support from members of the public, the party was opened up for all to say goodbye.
“We were only thinking we must have a farewell, but because the community has been so exceptional, we’re going to open up the tent,” Greg said.
When asked what message he would like to give to Karratha, he paused for a moment, before replying.
“In such an unfortunate and tragic event, we’ve found one place on the planet that has made it so much easier and has absolutely touched us to the bottom of our hearts,” Greg said.
“That response has really bowled us over.”
Greg leaves with one last memory of his old mate Alan.
“Alan was a professional entertainer.
“He loved the audience and loved performing.
“The circus was his life, entertaining was his life, right to the end.”