Clowns gather for Joseph Grimaldi memorial service [PHOTO]

(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)Clowns attend the annual service in memory of celebrated clown Joseph Grimaldi, at the Holy Trinity Church, in Dalston, east London

It was no austere occasion at a London church on Sunday as clowns came together to pay tribute to the father of all clowns, Joseph Grimaldi.

Holy Trinity Church, in Dalston, was full for the service, which has been on the first Sunday in February each year since 1946 in memory of the great entertainer and other clowns who have passed away.

Clowns donned colourful attire, wigs and full make-up for the occasion, and some were brandishing water-spraying flowers, whoopie cushions and balloon animals.

Joseph Grimaldi was born in 1778 and would go on to become one of England's most popular Regency actors.

He popularised the character of the clown on stage and in pantomimes, and the white face paint he wore for the part is still copied by clowns today.

He was a regular at the big theatres, like Drury Lane and Sadler's Wells, with audiences enjoying his humorous take on British life and the fashions of the day.