A CHILDREN'S entertainer has bounced back after an operation to remove a tumour.
Gary Finch, aged 53 of Leek, is perhaps more of a familiar face around Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands when he has his face painted up and he wears wacky clothing as Charlie Clown.
However, Gary has been taking an unscheduled break from entertaining at parties and events after being diagnosed with multicystic ameloblastoma.
Gary explained: "It was around three months ago when I went for a check up at the dentist and they found something at the back of my mouth and suggested that I visited hospital about it.
“ I had noticed it before but just thought it was an ulcer.
"I had a CT scan and it came back that I had a rare kind of tumour.
“Apparently it would have been there since I was just a fetus.
“It has grown over the years and gone into my gums and teeth."
Gary has since had six hours of surgery to remove the tumour which included a large section of his top left gum along with some top teeth.
He also had some of his teeth and bone from his bottom left jaw taken out.
Gary said: "They would normally cut someone's face from the ear down to the mouth.
“But because of my job, the surgeon managed to take out the tumour from going in through my mouth."
Charlie Clown and Aunty Dawn (Gary's partner Dawn Johnson) make up the duo of Children's Entertainers which provides a variety of party fun from magic shows, balloon modelling, circus workshops, face painting and much more.
Gary, who has been working as Charlie Clown in Leek since 1984, now has a plate and clips in his jaw as well as medical packing in the area of where the tumour was, and is set to have re-constructive surgery.
However Gary said that he has asked for any reconstructive surgery to be done after the festive period.
He said: "I will be honouring all bookings that we have taken and we are willing to take any more for over the next few months.
"We don't want to let people down. Dawn has been honouring any events that I have not been able to do over the last few months with her disco and other party activities.
“But Charlie Clown is now available for over the Christmas period."
Charlie Clown and Aunty Dawn's next public appearance will be at a Family Halloween Party at The Pride of the Moorlands in Junction Road, Leek.
The pair have organised the spooky fun which is set to include a buffet, party games, and disco as well as a fancy dress competition.
Admission will be £4.50 each and children must be accompanied by an adult.
To get in touch with Aunty Dawn and Charlie Clown call 07976 588556 or go online to www.charliesindex.webs.com.