VETERAN Pendle conjurer Raymond “Mr Magic” Smith – who entertained people for more than 50 years – is to be presented with a top award by the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Mr Smith (86), of Burnley Road, Colne, has been invited out to the Brotherhood’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas, but said: “I don’t feel well enough to go out to Dallas, but they will send it on to me.”
He retired from the world of magic 10 years ago after half a century of impressing audiences.
His father was a trumpet player and when the young Raymond became interested in magic, his father took him to events to entertain. He also did magic shows at school.
Then he became “Mr Magic” and did shows for 50 years. He said: “Even today, people still call me ‘Mr Magic’.” It has even happened in hospital!
He has had a big involvement with Colne’s Bethel Independent Methodist Church and was superintendent of the Sunday school. His daytime work was producing Leader Times Newspapers.
He left school at 15 to work at the old Coulton’s Printworks in Every Street, Nelson, and when it became East Lancashire Newspapers, he was based at the Burnley Express production department in Burnley. He retired in 1986.
Mr Smith, who has two daughters – Hilary Wood, headteacher at St Michael and All Angels’ Primary School, Foulridge, and Christine, who works at Colne Health Centre, has performed magic locally and internationally.
He has appeared in Israel, Germany and Russia. He also performed in schools and at private parties, and in Bethel’s pantomimes.
He has met fellow magicians like Tommy Cooper and Paul Daniels and is a friend of Pendle’s internationally renowned Granville “Faust” Taylor.
Mr Smith has been connected with the International Brotherhood for 40 years, and its international president, Ronaldo Santos, wrote to him and said: “In recognition of your long-standing and loyal contribution and service to the art of magic, I am pleased to inform you that you will be inducted into the International Brotherhood of Magician’s prestigious ‘Order of Merit’.”
There’s more on this story in tomorrow’s Leader-Times newspapers