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Clowns take over London church to celebrate Joseph Grimaldi

People sporting red noses and spotty garments have lined church pews as the Annual Grimaldi Clown Service returned.

Now in its 78th year, the event sees people pay their respects to Joseph Grimaldi, who popularised the role of clowns in British pantomimes, as well as their slapstick humour and striking make-up.

Annual Grimaldi Clown Service
A clown at the Annual Grimaldi Clown Service (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The day was as popular as ever, with many attending All Saints in Hackney, London, with painted faces and bright bow ties.

The event has taken place on the first Sunday of February since the tradition began and is free, in the hope that many will continue to appreciate the quirks of being a clown.

Annual Grimaldi Clown Service
A pair of clowns wearing matching outfits (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Despite being an annual tradition, the service is full of variety.

It has a focus on celebrating joy and laughter, with a mix of hymns and circus songs, and a few humorous antics thrown in for good measure.

Annual Grimaldi Clown Service
Many attendees donned bright clothing (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Some of the standout clowns in attendance included a man and young girl who wore matching orange hats, glasses, red noses and thick drawn-on eyebrows.

Another group wore multi-coloured clothing, ranging from jackets to gigantic bows to dresses, with one holding a guitar and singing.

Annual Grimaldi Clown Service
A group wearing elaborate face make-up, with one also sporting a tiny hat on her head (Jonathan Brady/PA)

If there was a competition for the world’s smallest hat, one woman at the service may have taken home the prize as she sported a tiny pointy black one on her head.