A circus-goer got more than he bargained for after getting up on stage to take part in an act – and ended up in A&E.
Unlucky Steve Horsfield wasn’t even meant to be going to the Chinese State Circus show, at the Guild Hall in Preston, but was given free tickets.
The 26-year-old was picked from the audience to take part in an act in the show but it ended up breaking his foot.
During the show, Steve was brought onstage and blindfolded, before being made to jump over a skipping rope when a whistle was blown.
He says he landed ‘funny’ on his foot and when he went back to his seat he was in so much pain his girlfriend, Amy Checker, called over a steward.
Steve, who works at Preston Antiques in New Hall Lane, has been left with his leg in a cast after an X-ray showed he had a broken metatarsal.
And the fall has thrown a trip to Gambia into jeopardy. Steve was due to jet off in March but won’t be able to fly.
Steve said: “I was selected out of the audience to join in a skipping rope act. I held the rope for the performer to do a few skips, then it was my turn to have a go, but with the added bonus of a blindfold, and was told to jump when the performer blew a whistle.
“So we began to do so, a few seconds into my skipping, the whistle got faster and faster to the point I lost my balance, twisted my left ankle, and broke one of my metatarsal bones in my left foot.
“After taking a bow and not noticing the pain because of the adrenaline from fear of 300 people watching me, I went and sat back in my seat,
“Within 20 seconds of sitting back down, the pain of my foot started to kick in. Around five minutes later, an interval began. At this point I called for a member of staff and told them about the pain. I was taken to a function room where they got me some ice and called an ambulance for me. The staff of the Guild Hall were very helpful.”
Steve was given complimentary tickets to the event after advising circus members, a day before the show on Friday, that they were parked somewhere where they would get a parking ticket.
Steve said: “I saw the man who gave me the tickets on the way out, I said ‘nice one for the free ticket to hospital!’”
He added: “I’ve got to have a cast on for six to eight weeks, but I’ve got to go back for an X-ray to see if the bone is setting correctly. If not, I will have to have a pin through. The pain is constant. I’m off work, I can’t drive, I have lost all my independence.”
Steve, from Hoghton, near Preston, said he is seeking legal advice over what to do next.
A Preston council spokesman, said: “We are aware of an incident that occurred at the Guild Hall during the Chinese State Circus, who used the venue for a recent show, when an audience member took part in an on stage performance.
“Over many years, audience participation has been a feature of some shows staged at the Guild Hall and usually enhances the customer experience. Occasionally incidents do occur and the council takes these very seriously and would like to assure the public that their safety is paramount.
“We are currently investigating the incident to establish exactly what occurred.”
The Chinese State Circus was unavailable for comment.