HARTLEPOOL’s Bubble Man has taken his craft to the capital – and is hoping to blow his bubbles for Richard Branson in a bid to win a business package worth £50,000.
Richard Shaw became well- known in Hartlepool for entertaining crowds of people in the town’s Victory Square with bubbles of all shapes and sizes, bringing a smile to the faces of passers-by.
The 42-year-old has left the town and headed to London, where he has been showing off his skills in well-known places such as Waterloo Station, Marble Arch, Green Park near Picadilly Circus, outside The Royal Albert Hall, The Mall next to Buckingham Palace, and Little Venice, near Paddington Station.
Richard is hoping to take part in the Virgin Media Business’ Pitch to Rich 2015 competition, which was launched by Richard Branson to find the brightest and best businesses in the UK and give them the support to be the best they can be.
There are three categories for the contest, and the Bubble Man is to enter the Start Up section, which is for people with new business ideas to pitch them to multi-millionaire Richard Branson by May 5, ahead of the winners being announced on June 26.
Bubble Man Richard, who grew up in Pennsylvannia, USA, before moving to Hartlepool in 2010, to be near family, said: “I heard about the Richard Branson entrepreneurial competition and I’m going to pitch to him the idea of bubbles being a viable business for the young, the elderly, anyone with a nurse or carer, or people with behavioural problems.
“I’ve seen it take people out of their conditions while they’re watching the bubbles because it’s so mesmerising and relaxing.
“There was one little boy who had autism and he watched me for about an hour. I gave him the bubble sticks to make the bubble and made him the star of the show and he was just elated. His mother had never seen him so happy and had to go hide behind a tree while she cried.”
Richard added: “I feel like it could be really useful in schools and the health service, so I’m creating a pitch to see if I’m successful.
“It’d be great if I was. I’d get £50,000 and up to a year’s support with PR and legal issues and stuff from the Virgin team.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve done and proud that the whole Bubble Man thing started in Hartlepool. I’ll be coming back up to visit people real soon.”
Richard says the most his bubble show has made in one day from people donating their spare change is £68, with one French man throwing a £10 note in his bucket, telling Richard: “Thanks for the moment.”
Richard got the idea to start spreading bubble joy after regularly seeing bad news on the front pages of newspapers, and also watching a man on YouTube having fun making the floating soapy baubles.
He made his own wands out of bamboo canes and washing line and practised and practised, even crafting wands for particularly windy days.
He carries out containers of bubble mix that last him three to four hours at a time.