Anthony Harris the son of the late Elias and Evelyn Harris, was born 22nd April 1940 into an already popular funfair family based in Hounslow.
While living with his parents, at a young age Anthony Harris learned what it takes to be a showman from his father, by trying his skills as a Wall of Death rider. Anthony’s father was already a renowned rider himself and Anthony amazed all by picking up the art easily.
During his early 20s Anthony undertook an apprenticeship with the Famous Fairground Artist Fred Fowle in a converted tram shed in Balham, West London where he learnt how to paint in the traditional fairground style. He has used this amazing skill throughout his life to decorate rides, attractions and lorries for his company. He has also passed his knowledge and skill onto his youngest son Michael Harris who has spent hours working along side his Dad and his 2 brothers Anthony Jnr and Charles during the winter months maintaining and painting the funfair equipment. They can still be seen painting together on a regular basis today.
While Anthony Harris’ life was getting busy with the Harris owned machines travelling many locations with the Collins Funfair, his attention made way to a Miss Christina Shaw, daughter of Mr & Mrs Walter Shaw from the Lancashire Section and they married on the 2nd December 1968 in Blackpool. Pat Collins Jnr was in attendance as best man.
Anthony Harris took control of the Lightning Skid alongside the Octopus and Jets and while working with his father Anthony showed all the traits of a fine showman. With his father and mother as mentors Anthony and his family were sure to go far. From 1976 – 1980 the Anthonys ride line up grew to Lighting Skid, Twist, Supreme Waltzer and the Para-Glider.
In 1979 Elias J Harris retired from showmanship also that same year the Collins fair was jointly owned by Pat Collins grandson Patrick Collins and Anthony.
In the summer of 1983 at Rowley Regis Anthony took full control and sole ownership of Pat Collins Funfairs.
Alongside the running of Pat Collins Funfairs Anthony has pursued a successful career within the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain. Going all the way from regional Midlands Chairman to the National Showmens Guild President where he worked along side the Health and Safety Executive on safety working groups for the funfair and amusement park industry for over 28 years. He was also the senior negotiator working alongside European showmen to establish a European standard for funfairs.
In recent years Anthony has become involved with local politics and is currently councillor for Walsall Borough Council. Anthony also sits on the management committee for the National Fairground Archive at Sheffield University and still performs various other duties to do with funfair life.
The life of Anthony Harris has many doorways through the years from being a young boy at his fathers side, learning the ways of showmanship to marriage and parent hood and non-fairground duties. Anthony has always managed to put on a spectacular fair, paying particular attention to detail with the immaculate presentation of his rides and the transport fleet.
Now in his young seventies Anthony can rest assured the funfair is in the capable hands of his sons
The Pat Collins Funfair is proud to display a great traditional funfair showing the flare and grandeur of Anthony D Harris.