WHILE other boys his age are getting into trouble for clowning around, 12-year-old Ben Carson is picking up international awards.

Ben, or Benjo as he is known in the trade, has won the best clown in parade award at the International Circus Clowns Festival, laughing off serious competition from other, more “mature”, clowns.

Ben, from Romanby, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, picked up the gong at Butlin’s, in Bognor Regis.

“I won the award for best clown in the parade. There were about 130 clowns involved, so I was pretty pleased,” he said.

“I’m really glad I won, but I haven’t told many of my friends at school as I think they might take the Mickey a little bit.

“I had to get up in front of the other clowns and do a bit of a skit with two other junior performers. We trained with Toto, an American clown. He showed us the routine, then we just got on with it.

“I wasn’t really nervous, even though the other clowns were professionals.”

While clowning is big part of Ben’s life at the moment, he is not sure whether to take it up as a career in the future.

“Clowning is something I really enjoy doing and will do for a while,” he said. “When I’m older, I fancy doing something different though. I think I’ll be a farmer.”

Ben’s mother, Fiona, who was with him when he won the award, said: “It was quite surreal to be honest, about 130 clowns walking around a conference centre, it was a bit like a weird dream.

“It was like clown boot camp at times, they were taught for about 12 hours a day before they finally took to the stage.

“Clowning is a tricky business.

You have to be able to do something really well before you can look like you don’t know how to do it.

“Ben is a ‘mingling clown’, he goes around the audience and performs tricks. He is unable to work yet, as he still needs to get his Equity card and he can’t do that until he is 13.

“The fact he managed to win this award, against a lot of serious, so to speak, competition is amazing.

“He is obviously a natural but I’d never push him.

“He will do it as long as he enjoys it and that looks like it could be for some time now.”