A career as a full time magician is on the cards for Ev Boothby, who has fulfilled his childhood dream and launched himself as an entertainer under the name of Mister E Magic.

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When Ev, who lives at North Walsham, saw an illusionist perform at a family wedding at the age of six, he set his heart on becoming a magician.

But family problems meant that the Tommy Cooper fan spent much of his young life in and out of foster care, later going to live with his sister at Cromer.

“I used magic as a way of coping with things,” he said. “It was hard as I always wanted to be at home with my mum, but you don’t really have a voice at that age.”

Finding it difficult to concentrate on studying at Cromer High School, Ev focused instead on perfecting card tricks and juggling, performing to audiences ranging from coffee bar patrons at Sheringham Little Theatre, to shoppers at a north Norfolk convenience store.

Aged 14, he won Cromer Carnival’s annual talent show and, after leaving school and moving into his own flat at North Walsham two years later, he began taking bookings for children’s parties and charity events.

Ev, now 20, admitted: “Things weren’t easy. But if there’s something that you like doing, whether it is football, dancing or magic, then I think that, with hard work, anyone can make something of themselves.”

Determined to carve a career as an entertainer, he spent every spare minute honing his act, and every spare penny buying tricks, props and disco equipment.

Bookings eventually came flooding in and Ev now performs almost every weekend, travelling to weddings, children’s parties and corporate events as far afield as Manchester and Blackpool.

His act is tailored to suit his audience, with tricks ranging from illusion and sleight of hand mixed with comedy for adults, to music and magic for youngsters.

Older audiences never fail to be terrified by a guillotine trick, he says, but his most popular prop – particularly at children’s parties - is his pet black rabbit Sparkle, who appears by “magic” from under an apparently empty wooden box.

In spite of his busy life, Ev has also found time to set up The West End of Walsham, an amateur dramatics group whose members range from eight to 80.

They will be taking a variety show on a tour of north Norfolk venues in April, with proceeds going to an appeal to raise cash for North Walsham tot Ryan White, who has the rare cancer neuroblastoma.

Ev, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday in April by putting on a show for family and friends, says the support he has received from family, friends and clients has given him a major boost, with praise also coming from one hugely famous, fellow magician fan.

“The biggest thing that has happened to me was that Derren Brown got in touch after I spoke to him on Twitter,” he explained.

The master illusionist sent a message by email, saying: “Ev is very talented and dedicated to what he does – talent like his will go far.”

Ev said: “I was amazed and really pleased, but I don’t necessarily want to become famous, I just want to make a living doing the thing I love and I feel I have achieved that goal.”

To find out about joining The West End of Walsham, or to book Ev for an event, visit www.mister-e-magic.co.uk or phone 07856 418139

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