#MagazineMoment gives us another chance to share with you some of the great stories from we have had the privilege of hearing and sharing in our Culture Club Magazine.

Back in June 2020, Issue 6 of our Culture Club Magazine, we had the pleasure of talking to Michelle Russell who told us why the ‘Fairground at Home’ theme relates to her family.

Here is another chance to enjoy it!
[The full magazine can be seen here]


Michelle Russell, doing her day job before Lockdown, has been voted best bus driver by pupils and parents and she also used to be an Early Years school teacher but here she tells us about sharing her skills in a different way.

Usually driving a Stagecoach school bus, which like many businesses was abruptly disrupted as we had to Stay Safe at Home, I adapted my skills and began to drive the (virtual) Activity Bus. 

Using the powers of Facebook, I have been joined by a diverse and wonderful group of people, sharing everything from doodles and rhymes to free activities, videos, music and bespoke artwork.

My Dad, Keith Russell was a travelling showman, so inspired this week’s theme, as well as my brother Adam Russell’s Fairground Reminiscence show which all the family were part of at Culture Bazaar 2020 in February.

Collaborating with Fairground Reminiscence and storyteller, Richard O’Neill (who also featured at CB2020), introducing Tamar, a young aspiring artist and many more special guests, I have created the very first Virtual Fairground at Home.  In the tradition of fairgrounds, they introduce a ‘front of show’ – a different theme for each day building up to our Showtime finale. 

It is so rewarding to watch the page evolve and grow as the audience gets involved – they have become stars of the show and top of the billboard as the fairground closes each day.  

My great grandad Thomas Russell (named after his father) lost his hand when he was bitten by a monkey. Being a Travelling Exhibitor of Monkeys, the monkey was part of the show during the 1800, round about the time one of my favourite fairground songs was 'doing the rounds'   ‘I Went To The Animal Fair’. Click here

I am so lucky to know where I come from and the heritage that has shaped me. 

Although my branch of the family tree became settled in Carlisle, I am so proud that the story of my heritage of showmen and fairgrounds will continue to travel.  ‘Like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one’  (unknown author) inspired my doodle (page 7).  By Michelle Russell

You can find @TheActivityBus on Facebook with lots to see and do.

Sharing exotic curiosities through the fairground, the Russell's ran a coconut shy. Something that we are very familiar with today, would have been fascinating to see and win.  

Below is a photo from Adam Russell’s Fairground Reminiscence tour, which also featured his Dad (in the cap) in a Russell SideShow.

Below is Casey’ digital illustration which was specially created by @caseyjadecreates for #FairgroundatHome

CaseyJadeCreates Instagram