THE first circus featuring live animals to perform in High Wycombe for 20 years has been hailed a great success.

Zippo's Circus has been in town on the Rye since Thursday and has sold out several of its shows.

It was the first time a circus featuring animals has been to the town since Wycombe District Council overturned a 17-year-old ban.

Councillors were split when voting on whether to overturn the ban in February.

Posters advertising Zippo's circus were vandalised in the build-up to the arrival of horses, ponies and budgerigars as part of the act.

But the animals were well received by people who came to see the Sunday afternoon performance.

Jan Grizyb from Tylers Green attended along with son Oliver.

He said: “It was excellent, we'll come next year. It's great to see the circus still alive and it was good to see some live animals as well.”

Merita Lumley from Amersham said: “We thought it was really good.

“I felt a bit nervous about the animals being around and how they have been treated, but I didn't feel uncomfortable.”

Her nine-year-old daughter Megan, who came with twin sister Donjeta, said: “It was brilliant.”

Lee Dearman from West Wycombe said: “It was absolutely fantastic, we'll definitely come next year.

“I liked the horses. They seemed to be so well cared for.”

The ovation for the performing animals was only topped by the show's final act – the 'Wheel of Death'.

This involved two Colombian entertainers performing a series of hair-raising stunts on a revolving wheel, with one of the acrobats going round blindfolded.

Martin Burton, the owner of Zippo's Circus, told the Bucks Free Press: “I have to say we've really been made welcome back in Wycombe.

“We've been very busy. The Mayor came on the opening night, we were sold out on Friday and we were sold out on Saturday.

“People are really enjoying the show.”

Health and safety and food safety inspections were carried out by Wycombe District Council before the start of the show.

A statement from the council said: “Matters were identified and brought to the attention of the circus's on-site health and safety advisor.

“These matters were dealt with informally, as action to address them was agreed and implemented promptly and will full, on-site co-operation.”

Shows will take place tonight at 5pm and 7.30pm and tomorrow at 6pm.

Have you been to see the performing animals? What did you think? Have your say below.