A former stalwart of a legendary circus, famed for entertaining the nation every Christmas, has died aged 83.
Rose Polakovs, nee Smart, was part of the Billy Smart’s Circus dynasty, performing in the Wild West element of the circus show which aired on television every Christmas throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Mrs Polakovs, who was born in Ealing in 1931, grew up in the circus with her nine siblings, including Billy jnr, and performed around the country and in America before marrying into another circus epoch as she wed the son of Coco the Clown, Michael Polakovs.
He had joined Billy Smart’s Circus, rivals of his father’s, and landed more than just the job of one the ringmaster’s lead clowns as he married Rose, the youngest daughter of Billy Smart snr.
She then set up home in Blackpool, where Michael had performed in the Blackpool Tower Circus alongside Charlie Cairoli, while he continued to travel the world performing, and Rose’s five children - Marcus, Sirge, Akim, Sasha and Zayna - were brought up in the resort.
The grandmother of three and great-grandmother of five, remained in the resort, living in South Shore.
Marcus, 47, said: “She was full of life and very, very smart and proud, she was always impeccably dressed and always wore her Coco Chanel perfume.”
As a young woman Mrs Polakovs rubbed shoulders with the likes of Shirley Bassey as she travelled the country performing, and in 1977 she met the Queen in a special circus show with Billy Smart’s.
Marcus added: “She’d reminisce about all those days, it was hard work, she did the dressage, but she loved it.
“She had a really good life.”
Mrs Polakovs suffered poor health in recent years, being nursed by her son and the district nurses from Bloomfield Medical Centre, and died on Thursday, October 2, from organ failure.
Her life will be celebrated at a funeral on Thursday, October 16, at 12.30pm at Carleton Crematorium.