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Members and guests gathered again at the picturesque Mytton Fold Hotel, nestling beneath the witching hill of Pendle, for our annual magic banquet.
Recently departed Hon Vice Presidents Paul Daniels, John Tattersall and Maurice (Mo) Howarth were in our thoughts as we enjoyed a superb meal followed by speeches which were brief, amusing and sincere – a winning combination. Clive Moore, President of the IBM British Ring, accompanied by his lady Jean Ellison, proposed the toast to the League, followed by MML President Roger Woods, with his lady Joan, who proposed a toast to the guests. Robert Temple, accompanied by his lady Emma Ward, responded.
Chairman Brian Lead then brought onto the stage Johnny Green, who had served both Mo’s mother, Josephine Langley, and then Mo himself, as a ventriloquial companion. Although around a hundred years old, Johnny was on good form, and even managed to remember most of the alphabet. As was Mo’s wish, Johnny was then presented to Dave Andrews, who had been inspired by Mo and was, in turn, greatly respected by Maurice.
Our Donald always has something up his sleeve. Last year we realised that a number of MML associates have a birthday around this time and they received a combined cake. To balance things out this time, Donald had arranged a visit from the Mad Hatter (splendidly recreated by Francesca Docherty) who distributed birthday cup-cakes to everyone who was celebrating their ‘un-birthday’ as Alice would have put it.
This was succeeded by the obligatory raffle, while enough performing members were present to have a close-up entertainer for each table during the break.
Clive Moore compered the cabaret as only he can, first introducing Dave Andrews with his award-winning manipulation act. Rather in Cardini mode, the magic just seems to happen to Dave. Sticks, cards and billiard balls appear unexpectedly and seem to surprise the performer as much as his audience.
Robert Temple then proved he could see into the future by cleverly predicting the result of a coin-tossing competition. Dave Andrews returned with a lovely ventriloquial cameo (especially requested by Mo, to whose memory the dinner was dedicated) in which a genie in a bottle held a conversation with the magician who was trying to get him to hang on to a rope. It was a charming, engaging sequence.
Top of the bill was Ireland’s Pat Fallon, presenting a colourful array of magic, initially with silks and doves. A patter sequence followed, involving items such as Ali Bongo’s pom-pom sticks, before an audience assistant was brought onto the stage to help with a rope effect and the closing card-sword.
Once again, the evening proved to be an event to remember . . . and guests were asked to note in their diaries October 14th 2017 as the date of our next dinner, when the special guest will be Sooty, along with his right-hand man, Richard Cadell.
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