THE death of a Somerset circus legend inspired one performer to do his bit in the fight against the pandemic.

And Helmut Kirchmeier, aka Hannibal Hellmuerto, traded swords for needles as he put his qualifications as a piercer to good use - working at a vaccination centre.

You might recognise the Circus of Horrors star from his appearance in the final of Britain’s Got Talent with The Circus of Horrors a few years back.

But after the Circus of Horrors was locked down in March 2020 leaving many shows to be rescheduled, the disrupted schedule left Hannibal, like many others in the entertainment industry, considering what he could do.

And when Cheddar Gorge owner Gerry Cottle died in January, it prompted a big decision.

"in January we lost Gerry Cottle to Covid, he was not only a Great Showman but a Great Friend to many and the news of his passing really hit home," he said.

"I decided, 'I need to do what I can to help the battle against Covid-19 and stop more lives being lost' ... and at the same time help the entertainment industry in general by getting as many people vaccinated as possible and allowing festivals and full scale tours to go ahead again."

And so he embarked on a journey to become a member of the NHS vaccination team, completing a five-month training course.

"With my previous qualifications as a body piercer, I already knew how to work in a clinical environment and a lot of the health and safety procedures, so this was a good place to start," he said.

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The Circus of Horrors

"And I am now proud to be working with the amazing team of dedicated people at my local vaccination centre – the Northamptonshire Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in Moulton Park, Northampton, as a Supernumerary Vaccinator.

“I pick up any shifts available when I'm not performing with the Circus of Horrors.”

Anna Dorothy, deputy director of the Northamptonshire Covid-19 Vaccination Centre, said: “We’re delighted to have Helmut as part of our fantastic team at the Vaccination Centre, and on behalf of the whole Northamptonshire vaccination programme I’d like extend a huge thank-you for the incredible efforts of all of our staff and volunteers working day in, day out across the county."

The Circus of Horrors continues to tour the UK with upcoming shows at The Isle of Wight Festival, where the show will perform each evening from the September 16 to 19, before a full tour starting with Halloween Residency at Tulley's Schocktober Fest from October 1 and Blackpool Pleasure Beach from October 27.

For full list of Circus of Horrors dates, visit

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PERFORMER: Hannibal in action with the Circus of Horrors