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Clowning around for a good cause

Local clowns Donna Simpson (left) and Layla Sawford are heading to Greece next month.

TWO Shetland women are set to spend a fortnight at refugee camps in Greece next month to spread “light, love and laughter” into the lives of children by dressing up as clowns and putting on shows.


Layla Sawford and Donna Simpson have teamed up with The Flying Seagull Project, a theatrical and circus company which works with children and marginalised groups throughout Europe and also in the likes of India and Ghana.

The pair have undergone training in London and are due to spend two weeks alongside fellow volunteers in Greece from 6 November.

Layla and Donna are looking for donations to put towards the cost of flights and living arrangements.

“We will be putting on shows, doing magic tricks and running art and craft workshops,” they said.

“The shows are intertwined with heavy physical activity to allow children to remove themselves mentally from their situation, even for a little while, and to allow them to be kids again. All kids just want to have fun.”

The idea to head to Greece developed after Layla saw a Facebook post from Flying Seagull asking for performers, actors, artists – and anyone else – to attend workshops in the view of working in refugee camps.

“It will hit us like a ton of bricks when we arrive on the 6 November- the day after Layla’s 30th birthday,” they said.

“We constantly see images of refugee camps in the media – situations so far removed from our own realities – that we can’t possibly know the extent of these people’s hardships until we get there.

“It will be a challenge for sure, with three shows a day, it will be exhausting. Regardless of how exhausted we are, if we can make the children smile – even just for a moment – we truly will have achieved something.”

To donate to Layla and Donna’s trip, visit their Justgiving page here.