A MAGICIAN from Sidcup was stunned when he was awarded one of the top prizes in the world of magic last week.

John Styles, of Christchurch Road, had no idea he was going to win a trophy previously won by superstar Paul Daniels when he attended an award ceremony in London.

Mr Styles had been asked by the Magic Circle to compere their annual gala awards dinner but as far as he knew, this was as far as his involvement went in the night.

However, he was shocked when it was revealed he was to receive the prestigious Maskelyne Award, presented to recognise exceptional services to magic.

The 77 year-old was presented with the trophy at the dinner, held at the Royal National Hotel in London on October 13.

He said: “I never dreamed of winning this award.

“It is nice to even be considered and if you look at some of the past recipients of it, you can see how honoured I am.”

Mr Styles says he became suspicious something was going on in the run up to the event, but he dismissed thoughts he could actually have won such an acclaimed award.

“There was a possibility I wasn’t going to be able to make it and one of the organisers said ‘no, you have to be there.’

“I wondered what was going on – I knew there were other awards given out that evening and it could have been one of them.

“But it transpired so it really was a massive surprise.”

Mr Styles has been doing magic since he was 13 and has spent his life on the stage, working throughout his life as a magician and a puppeteer.

His first performance was at a school show in front of his family and he was stunned when a hat was passed around and donations worth 7 shillings and 6 pence were given to him.

Later joining a youth club alongside a group of like-minded entertainers, Mr Styles was able to perform in the summer at parks across London, building up his experience of public performance.

His work has seen him travel and perform across the globe in America, Singapore and Canada to name only a few.

The award is named after John Maskelyne, founder of the Magic Circle, and is presented annually.