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"I don't like being in the same place all the time," he says.So, aged 21, he bought the Scream Machine – a top-of-the-range ride that spins its shrieking cargo around and upside down at increasing speeds. It's in my blood."Showmen are not considered an ethnic group as Romany gypsies or Irish Travellers are.A fifth generation showman, he's taken fairs all over the world, to places including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Iceland, Norway, South Africa and Dubai. but it's an old one." He says a showman might take £1,000 in a good week, but that must cover ground rent, travel expenses, taxes, living costs and, usually, the wages of his wife and children.Closer to home, his company, Carousel Fun, has provided rides for big-name clients like Manchester City Council, Sky TV and Dell computers. When the weather is bad or the fair is up against a competing event, he might make much less.
The Norfolk fair – held every February since Tudor times – marks the opening of the travelling season, and like everyone else, Thurston is anxious to get off to a good start.Educating them on the road means studies can be fitted around the demands of the business and wives can continue to work alongside their husbands.It puts a whole new emphasis on the idea of a family business.Most have never known another way of life, nor have any wish to.Brought up on the fairs, Thurston's family stopped travelling when he was 12.
You certainly don't get rich doing this – you couldn't."It's an opinion seconded by David Wallis, the newly elected president of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain. " he laughs, when asked what it takes to become a success in this industry.