An 85-year-old former Gatwick Airport worker and member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians – British Ring, is still up to his tricks.
For respected amateur magician Stanley Reynolds, who has been performing magic since he was 12, is being hailed for having made 50 years of household clutter disappear.
Mr Reynolds and his wife Jean have managed to move from a three-bedroom detached home into a modern retirement apartment at an Assisted Living development.
Mr Reynolds, who worked in electronics and computing and was employed at Gatwick for 17 years, said: “Well I am 85 and my wife is 81. “We loved our family home – we’d been there for 50 years – but it was beginning to become too much for us. “Jean loves gardening but we had to get someone in to tend to ours', so we knew it was about time to move.”
He said: “Before we even thought about moving I joked , ‘If we ever move we’ll need two years to get rid of our clutter!’ “But we did end up moving and we had to do it in less than two years.”
He continued: “We ended up filling a six cubic yard skip and having to order another one. “You can’t believe what you collect in your house over 50 years. A lot of my larger magical equipment has gone into storage and everything else we didn’t need has gone. “It was difficult to begin with, but having gone through the process, we’re pleased.”
Mr Reynolds said: “Although originally we didn’t think we’d need the Assisted Living option, we thought about it and actually decided it was better to opt for that while we are fit and able and then we won’t have to move again.
“Assisted Living means we are self-contained with our own kitchen, but we have the option of eating in the restaurant on site.”
He added: “We also have an hour a week of home help and if we need it, we can ask for personal care to be added to our requirements.”
He and Jean moved to McCarthy and Stone’s Corbett Court development in Burgess Hill last November.
Mr Reynolds' magical talent was soon in demand after he moved, when children from a local school visited to sing carols for the homeowners and their guests, and he performed a short magic show for them in return.
He said: “I’ve been involved with magic for over 70 years. It’s always been a hobby not a profession, and I’m always pleased to perform if asked. “I was delighted to show the children a few tricks last December, but since then it’s been the talk of the town here.
“The staff kept talking about it, and anyone who wasn’t there keeps stopping me and asking me to show them.
“But I’m used to that. I do carry a few things around in my pocket because you never know where you’ll be able to perform a trick.”
Remembering his airport days, Mr Reynolds said: “I had the pleasure of flying on Concorde once and I couldn’t resist nudging the gent next to me and saying, ‘Do you mind if I do a quick trick for you?’ “It was the highest and fastest trick I’ve ever performed – MACH 1 magic. Beat that!”
Mr Reynolds is also an instrumental member of the Sussex Magic Circle, the Associated Conjurers of East Sussex and the South Downs Magicians. He said: “I never wanted to become a full-time entertainer - it’s my hobby and I do it for the love of it. “I’ve done close up work at tables on cruises when Jean and I have been on holiday. I’ve done charity work for Gatwick Airport which involved going to the USA – in those days you could get two chrome tables and 13 daggers through customs.
“In fact, they asked me to show them a trick while I was there!” And he said his wife is still partial to his magic.
“Jean still loves watching the tricks. When we went to see the Magic Circle shows in the 60s, she always used to volunteer for the other magicians,” he said. “She’s levitated and been sawn in half and has no idea what happened to her. People think she’s a plant because she’s married to me, but she is still genuinely mystified by it all.”
McCarthy and Stone are Britain’s leading provider of retirement apartments, pioneering the concept of purpose-built accommodation for older people. For more information visit: www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk, www.facebook.com/mccarthystone or www.twitter.com/mccarthystone