Abracadabra! A Longton lad has been named best wedding entertainer in the North West.
Alexander Hutton began learning magic aged 12 after watching a television programme on tricks with his dad.
He’s spent the last 13 years honing his craft, spending his evenings and weekend performing at weddings, restaurants and parties.
Last week he beat off opposition from across the wedding industry to pull the award out of the hat at a ceremony at Mitton Hall.
“I’m really proud to win”, said Alexander, 25.
“This is something I’ve done since I was 12 and my dad had to take me out to places. It’s a sense of achievement that I must be doing something right.”
At a wedding you can be performing to groups of 10-15 people, so you have to make sure every angle is covered and the illusion isn’t blown
The award was judged by a panel who reviewed votes and feedback from wedding guests on social media.
Alexander, who runs Zanda Magic, concentrates on contemporary magic.
He said: “It’s things like box bending and making cards disappear. It’s not stage magic like cutting people in half in a box, which is quite old-fashioned now.
“At a wedding you can be performing to groups of 10-15 people, so you have to make sure every angle is covered and the illusion isn’t blown.”
The former Hutton Grammar School pupil said: “People are always looking for different ways to entertain guests, because it can take a long time to do things like photographs.
“There’s DJs and funny photo booths, but if you want something really memorable, then magic’s the way forward.
“More and more people are wanting magic and I’m always really honoured to be part of people’s special day.”
About three years ago, Alexander got the chance to perform in front of Paul Daniels, one of his childhood heroes.
He said: “Paul Daniels was in Blackburn and I got the chance to do a card trick for him.
“He said something like ‘That’s amazing’, and it really stuck with me.
“Paul Daniels was undoubtedly one of the world’s best magicians and what he did is being replicated by the likes of Dynamo now, but in a different way.
“He did a cup and ball trick with a lemon, and I studied it and it took me and year and a half to do.
“I learn a lot from watching DVDs and I come up with my own tricks too. It’s worth spending the time getting it right, because if you don’t then it ruins the whole act.”