Seagull brings joy to Romania

A group of actors and professional children s entertainers have arrived home after a drive across Romania. Ash Perrin, 26, and Matt Willis, 25, who were pals together at North Hertfordshire College in Hitchin, and Naomi Briercliffe, 23, whose family home

A group of actors and professional children's entertainers have arrived home after a drive across Romania.

Ash Perrin, 26, and Matt Willis, 25, who were pals together at North Hertfordshire College in Hitchin, and Naomi Briercliffe, 23, whose family home is in The Chilterns, Hitchin, have been travelling through Romania, in a converted Transit van, entertaining socially disadvantaged children with art, music and circus shows.

The Flying Seagull Project, as the group is called, was the idea of Mr Perrin and was inspired by work he had previously been involved in with orphans in Cambodia.

The project's slogan, "We're only after your laughter", encompasses the ethos of the venture to entertain children, regardless of their background, who may not otherwise have much laughter in their lives.


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During the journey from Oradea in the north west to Bucharest in the south east, the group encountered orphans, street children, the mentally and physically disabled, gipsies, the rural poor and the terminally ill.

Dressed as clowns and armed with paints, glitter, balloons, juggling balls and spinning plates, they entertained in schools, hospitals, shopping malls and community centres, as well as on fields, dirt tracks between slum housing and in city parks.

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At one point, they were even the specially invited guests leading a human-trafficking protest in Baucau, followed by hundreds of marching high school students and escorted by the police.

During the journey, the three were joined by eight other volunteering friends, including Maiween Langois and Annika and Jenny Jones from Hitchin, and worked in affiliation with eight different Romanian-based charities.

"Ultimately, the group was successful in its mission and left no frown down turned," said Mr Perrin, who studied art at college.

"We had a wonderful time and we would do it again and it was great to put smiles on so many faces both young and old. Fun is what is missing from their lives and we managed to make a lot of people happy.

"We even lived in their homes, barns and lofts and ate what they did so we integrated into the community."

Mr Perrin spent £3,000 of his own money to get the project off the ground and was supported by friends to the tune of a further £4,000. He is hoping to make a return journey to Romania next year with perhaps a larger group of entertainers for Flying Seagull Project II.

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