Suffolk’s Mr Bean on internet stardom in China, his ‘Susan Boyle moment’ and supporting his community in Felixstowe
PUBLISHED: 19:00 20 October 2020
Suffolk’s very own Mr Bean impersonator has been out and about helping his local community in Felixstowe after a year which saw him at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Bean, aka Nigel Dixon from Felixstowe, has been supporting a local shop’s fundraising efforts, but it is a million miles away from how he began the year.
Mr Dixon travelled out to Wuhan in China in January for the Chinese New Year.
“Teddy and I went over there for tourism purposes,” said Mr Dixon.
“But we always take the suit with us.”
Mr Dixon was enjoying his stay when the city became the heart of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Dixon decided to self isolate in the city as the virus began to spread around the world.
“Overnight we just all went indoors, closed our door and never came out the next day,” said Mr Dixon.
“I was thinking what can we do to fill the time, not knowing that 76 days of lockdown was going to take place.”
With his trusted Teddy, Mr Dixon began to make educational videos in character to help inform local communities of the best measures they could take to keep themselves healthy as well as blogs about his time there.
It was a natural follow on from community awareness work that Mr Dixon had done in Suffolk many years ago.
The videos proved a real hit in China with over 460 million people engaging with them on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
He’s since been referred to by some broadcasters as the best known westerner in China.
Mr Dixon described his new found fame as a bit of a “Susan Boyle” moment as he rose to fame during a difficult economic time.
Since then, Mr Dixon has been able to return home to Felixstowe and turned his new star power to good use helping the SPAR shop in HIgh Road East, Old Felixstowe, with a fundraising appeal.
“He just looks so much like Mr Bean,” said Lin Lowe, deputy manager at the shop.
“If we can raise as much money as we can for the NSPCC that would be good.”
Ms Lowe said that Mr Dixon was a regular in the store.
Mr Dixon and Teddy are due to head back to Wuhan soon to carry on their work.
“I just want to carry on doing work that engages people and that they take into their lives,” said Mr Dixon.