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Chester Guild of Magicians seeks new members

Professional and amateur magicians can join for just £12 a year

Chairman John Jones, Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Razia Daniels, and secretary Paul Shanley

Do you have a knack for illusion, a talent for conjury or a passion for slight of hand?

Chester Guild of Magicians is looking for new members to join its fun and affable group.

Founded in 1956 by a small bunch of enthusiasts, the guild has grown in size and popularity ever since.

Members meet on the third Thursday of every month at 7.30pm in The Coach House Inn on Northgate Street in Chester .

During meetings professional and amateur magicians socialise, demonstrate their tricks and share tips.

Chairman of Chester Guild of Magicians John Jones

Chairman and treasurer John Jones who has worked as a professional magician all over the world told the Chronicle that he enjoys being able to help and encourage people.

“We need joy and happiness in our lives and this is one way to get it,” he said.

The guild was informally founded back in 1956 after Dennis Roberts placed a small advert in the local newspaper.

For several months members met at his house in Hoole but word got around and the group became more popular.

Former chairman Steve Cooil (right) receives The Tom Place Trophy for close up magic aged 16

In 1957 they named themselves Chester Magic Circle and moved to the hall of the New Church on Dixon’s Drive.

They elected their first president Pat Sprake who taught at Chester City Grammar School, now Queen’s Park High School.

Since then the club room has move to around Chester to places such as the Queen Hotel on City Road and the Pied Bull Hotel on Northgate Street.

Magic tricks often involve a simple deck of cards

After receiving a message from The Magic Circle about the use of its name, the club changed decided to call its group Chester Guild of Magicians.

In 1982 to celebrate its silver jubilee the club held a one-day magic convention at Chester Gateway Theatre which attracted magicians from across the UK.

And in 2006 the guild celebrated its golden jubilee with a dinner dance and cabaret at the Ramada Hotel, compered by Stephen Cooil.

Former chairman Steve Cooil demonstrates some magic during a recent meeting

According to the guild website: “The membership is and always has been a mixture of magic enthusiasts ranging from full-time entertainers through part-time professionals to non-performing amateurs, all united in their love of the art of magic.”

Members not only perform individually but often gather together as a group to present a whole evening of magic for local clubs, societies and schools.

For more on the Chester Guild of Magicians or to become a member for just £12 a year (over 18s only) click here.

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