‘Clown Jacky’ – who gave guerrillas cigarettes so he could get life-saving medicine to orphaned children – dies aged 87

Martin McInally as Clown Jacky.

Martin McInally as Clown Jacky. - Credit: Sub

A Weston-super-Mare entertainer who travelled to war-torn countries to brighten children’s lives and provide life-saving medicine has died, aged 87.

Sallie and Martin McInally celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

Sallie and Martin McInally celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. - Credit: Archant

Martin McInally is best known in Weston for performing as Clown Jacky, a role he took on while dishing out Christmas presents to disabled children.

His charity work took him to orphanages in war zones including Bosnia, Croatia and Romania.

While travelling during the Gulf War, a NATO flag was raised to allow him to pass between the warring sides. The gunfire resumed once he had passed.

He rallied the people of Weston around good causes, collecting blankets, medicine and clothes to take to the children he entertained while dressed as Clown Jacky.

Because of the dangers of crossing the borders between countries and being stopped by guerrillas, he used to take cigarettes out with him to hand out, so they would not take the medicine.

He also travelled to Scotland after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, to entertain traumatised children.

Earlier in his life, Mr McInally, who was often known as Mac, served in the RAF, during which time he met and married Sallie.

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He received a medal for bravery while helping to quell an uprising in Egypt.

He also received the Borough Shield, Weston’s highest honour.

Mr McInally’s son Gavin said: “He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He was known and loved by many people in the town.”

The funeral will be held on Friday at 10.30am at Weston Crematorium. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Society.