Derbyshire legend John Evans gives up head-balancing skills for good after amazing career

An Ilkeston legend who is famous around the world for balancing a car on his head has decided to ‘call it a day’ after a difficult year.
Head balancer John Evans is hanging up his hat for good.Head balancer John Evans is hanging up his hat for good.
Head balancer John Evans is hanging up his hat for good.

John Evans, now 73, holds 96 world records for his bizarre balancing prowess, and has raised more than £250,000 for charity during his career.

The strongman was planning to take part in eight shows this summer but they were all cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “Sadly, it looks like next year will be the same.

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"I did hope to be raising more money and doing shows for a few more years but it looks like I am finished.”

Mr Evans has become famous for many stunts over the years –including walking 88 feet while carrying 140 tins of pet food on a board perched on top of his head.

He added: “These are things nobody else can do.”

His career has taken him around the world, including appearances on the iconic US Jay Leno show, 12 shows in Hollywood and numerous performances in Japan and China.

Mr Evans also appeared on the Tonight Show on its 40th anniversary.

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He said: “Out of all the stunning acts in the world they could have chosen, they chose me.

"The original host of the show was Steve Allen – I balanced him around the studio on my head. And they also had a Mini made just for me to balance that was later transported to Taiwan for me to do shows there.”

Mr Evans first discovered his talent when he was just a teenager.

He said: “I first started balancing bricks on my head as an 18-year-old lad working on building sites.

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"I used to bond 24 bricks on a piece of floorboard and lift them and put them on my head.

"After a while I got very fast at this and did not even need to hold the bricks, I could just balance them on my head and run up ladders all day long.

"Later, when I was about 55 years old I was messing about and found I could still balance bricks on my head. I thought if I could balance bricks what else could I balance?"

Local papers covered his feats, which he did for charity and became ever more bizarre and heavier, including balancing bunk beds, wardrobes and washing machines.

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He added: "I balanced lots of different items including fridges, beds, welsh dressers, 1,710 fresh eggs, a girl in a canoe, pints of beer 225, nappies, cans of drinks and much more.”

Remarkably, Mr Evans is still fit to do shows in his 70s and recent performances have seen him balancing ten car tyres, 20 plastic tables or a 120-kilo golf cart on his head.

He even got back on the road last year with his gravity defying feats of strength after recovering from an angina attack.

He said: “I designed a show which was a bit easier and I managed to do just two small shows last year."

But after the events of this year and uncertainty about the future, Mr Evans has decided that now is the right time to hang up his hat for good.

He said: “It’s time for me to call it a day.”