Hartlepool’s ‘Bubble Man’ entertains crowds just to see them smile

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The 42-year-old has become a regular sight in the town’s Victory Square, making bubbles of all shapes and sizes - simply because he says he wants to bring a smile to the faces of passersby.

Richard Shaw blows giant bubbles for the enjoyment of pasing children in Victory Square.

Richard Shaw blows giant bubbles for the enjoyment of pasing children in Victory Square.

And the entertainer - whose antics have seen him dubbed The Bubble Man – says it also brings him so much joy that the only time he is not out there making bubbles is if it rains.

Richard, who grew up in Pennsylvania, USA, before moving to Hartlepool in 2010, to be near to family, said: “It just makes people smile and that makes me feel so good.

“Some people ask me if this is my job, and I tell them it’s everybody’s job to make at least one person smile each day, and this certainly does.”

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 You Tube having fun making the floating soapy baubles.

Richard Shaw blows giant bubbles for the enjoyment of passersby in Victory Square.

Richard Shaw blows giant bubbles for the enjoyment of passersby in Victory Square.

He made his own wands out of bamboo canes and washing line and practised and practised, even crafting wands for particularly windy days.

He said: “Whenever I go to the newsagents and I see the front pages of the papers, there is not much good news.

“So I was sitting in my back yard one day on You Tube watching this guy having fun with bubbles and I just used my imagination and thought about how I could try and do something similar.

“I finally perfected my bubble mixture and then practised for about three months in the back yard. I figured that my neighbours must have thought I was crazy so I ventured out into the town and the reaction from the people is what makes me go out there everyday.

Richard Shaw making some shapes.

Richard Shaw making some shapes.

“The only time I don’t go out is when it’s raining.”

The Bubble Man has had workers tell him that they now venture out on their lunch breaks to watch his craft, and he has been touched by kids telling him how they wished their parents were so much fun.

“People of all ages stand and watch,” said Richard, a carer of Stanhope Avenue, Hartlepool. “If I see an elderly lady being pushed by her carer I’ll make a point of going over to her and make bubbles, just to make her feel special for 30 seconds.

“Others say they came out of the dole office feeling sad but my bubbles cheered them up.”

He added: “Bubbles either teach you to have fun, or make you remember how to have fun. I’ve been interested in bubbles since I had my first bubble bath, they’re just fascinating.”

Richard, who was born in Ipswich before moving to the States with his parents when he was three-years-old, says he will carry on with his bubble-making until “the Lord” tells him to do something else.