King’s Lynn bids farewell to Juggling Jim

King's Lynn legend Juggling Jim. Picture: JEREMY RODWELL

King's Lynn legend Juggling Jim. Picture: JEREMY RODWELL - Credit: Jeremy Rodwell

King's Lynn Minster will be packed tomorrow for the funeral of a much-loved street entertainer.

A screen shot from the documentary about Juggling Jim. Picture: Submitted.

A screen shot from the documentary about Juggling Jim. Picture: Submitted.

Anthony Bowen performed his eccentric slapstick routines in the centre of Lynn for three decades.

Mr Bowen, better known as Juggling Jim, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest near his home in Nelson Street on Monday, January 23.

Tributes left in a doorway for Juggling Jim. Pictures: Chris Bishop

Tributes left in a doorway for Juggling Jim. Pictures: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

The town will be paying its last respects at the Minster on the Saturday Market Place tomorrow (12.30pm). The service is being arranged for free by Lynn-based funeral directors AJ Coggles to give Mr Bowen a dignified send-off.

Afterwards, he will be buried at Gayton church alongside his father Leonard, who died a few days before him on Saturday, February 5.

Tributes in a doorway to Juggling Jim. Picture: Chris Bishop

Tributes in a doorway to Juggling Jim. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant


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Before the service at the Minster, friends will be staging a walk along the High Street from the benches outside Marks & Spencer from 12pm.

'Hopefully there will be quite a few people there because the boy needs a good send off,' said Chris Fox, chair of King's Lynn players, who knew Mr Bowen when he joined the group in the early 1980s.

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'I think it's sad he had to go and die before he got the help he needed.'

Dozens of touching tributes were left at Mr Bowen's usual pitch in the High Street after he died. Little is known about the man behind the trademark broken guitar, who also performed for a while in Hunstanton High Street.

'He did a couple of shows with us, bless him,' said Mr Fox.

'He did the shows and then he went away for a while, he disappeared.

'The next thing he was back in front of Ryman's in King's Lynn juggling tennis balls badly.' Mr Bowen also ran discos in Lynn during the early 80s, when he was living in Magdalene. He is believed to have been survived by a sister.

People living near Mr Bowen on Nelson Street knew little more about him. One neighbour said: 'I used to see him walk down the street all the time, he wouldn't say much but he was friendly.

'I heard he was living in a green caravan about 20 years ago on the Hardwick roundabout before he was removed. He used to live on Hillington Square I think with his mum.'

West Norfolk council has said a plaque could be put up to remember Mr Bowen in the doorway where he performed.

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