73rd British Ring IBM Convention
23rd - 27th September 2009, Southport
Update 16, August 2009
Bob Hayden, British Ring PRO

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 23rd September the Convention gets off to a cracking start with a magical curtain raiser. Hosted by Paul Ray it blends together the talents of Mark Shortland with his zany comedy magic, Jonathon Shotton with his Shield winning ‘Clocks’ act and the illusions of Sean Heydon. Paul is a comedy entertainer with a big difference. He supplements his magical talent with his uncanny impressions as we saw when he won the Tom Harris cup for Comedy in the Eastbourne Shield competition of 2004. There could be no better combination of contrasting magical ability to whet your appetite for the non-stop magic that will occupy the next four days.

This year’s Thursday Night show is an all British one, provided you accept John Lenahan as such. Well he came to this country in 1984 and has never left. Your compere will be Tony Stevens. One thing Tony can be relied on is to keep the show moving. He always has a non-stop stream of gags and jokes making him the king of offbeat observational humour. He has also been known to show off his vocal talent. How many of you remember, on a previous occasion, his excellent rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘Come fly with me’? As well as John Lenahan Tony will be introducing John Kimmons the magical ventriloquist and Guy Barrett & Company with their startling illusions. There will also be Tony Parx who we have not previously told you about. Tony is a polished skilful slick card manipulator. Watch out for his final surprise production, it’s something completely different. Tony gleaned his initial magical skills as a junior of The Northern Magic Circle, who over the years have been responsible for nurturing many of today’s magical stars.

The Fringe at Southport. We have had it confirmed by Fay Presto that a Fringe Club bar will be open at the Southport Arts Centre in Lord Street until 2.00am with food being available and will be open from Wednesday to Saturday. If there is a demand, Fay will try to have this time extended. You therefore will be able to buy a drink until the early morning without having to produce a hotel key and still be able to watch the show. How many of you will be foregoing sleep when there is the chance to see helpings of Fringe magic? Quite a few it is predicted.

Two people we always look forward to meeting at our Convention are the International President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and his lady. This year would have been no exception especially after reading about Jack White’s long and interesting involvement with magic which appeared in the July Issue of The Linking Ring. He and his wife Lynn were particularly looking forward to meeting members of the British Ring, a Ring held in high esteem by the parent organisation. Regretfully Jack has been hospitalised and although it is expected he will be discharged before the 23rd September, his medical advisors have forbidden him to fly under any circumstances. We are sorry Jack that you are prevented from joining us and we wish you a speedy recovery to full health and sincerely hope you and Lynn will find it possible to visit us in one of the forthcoming years ahead as we would love to meet you both in person.

We are fortunate that there will be at least one past International President attending in the person of John R Browne III who will be accompanied by his wife Jan. You will remember that John and Jan were planning to come to Eastbourne last year but Jan unexpectedly developed a serious and dangerous eye ailment which precluded them from travelling. Jan has now considerably improved and both are looking forward to meeting up with old friends just as much as we are looking forward to having them with us once again.

To prove that the British Ring Convention is highly regarded in the world of magic the President of F.I.S.M. Eric Eswin is joining us for a second consecutive year. We congratulate Derek Lever on securing the nomination to organise and host the 2012 F.I.S.M. Championships in Blackpool. Derek, with his vast experience and ability in organising large Conventions, F.I.S.M. 2012 is bound to be highly successful. Many other overseas visitors have already registered are coming from Denmark, Holland, U.S.A, Belgium, Ireland and South Africa.

Each year The Welfare and Benevolent Fund, through the Chief Welfare Officer the Rev Alan Clarke and his nationwide network of Welfare Officers send comforting gifts and cards to those members of the British Ring who are sick or have been involved in an accident. Likewise many a member has received help when they have found themselves in a distressed circumstance or are suffering a severe hardship. To enable the Fund to be vibrant and continue its valuable service it has to be adequately funded. In the Ring’s formative years this was done entirely by voluntary donations. As the Ring grew donations alone were insufficient to meet the demand on its services. In 1952 at the 24th Convention, to raise money to supplement the fund Tombola was organised, the prizes being donated by the members. It succeeded in achieving its aim and has been continued ever since to become a substantial annual fund raiser. At the same time a Welfare Stand was established by the late Eddie Dexter for the purpose of selling novelties being gifts from generous Ringers together with running a mammoth raffle for bottle prizes at 1p per line. The stand initially manned by Eddie was subsequently taken over by Cynthia Neptune who with a loyal band of helpers have run it ever since.

Cynthia makes an appeal before the Convention for members to donate memorabilia, gifts, jewellery and novelties especially those with a magic motif to be sold to the Conventioneers from the Welfare Stand which is open throughout the Convention as well as prizes for the Tombola. Any unwanted magical props or books find their way to the grand Auction. So please support the Fund by bringing your contributions to the Welfare Stand as early in the Convention as possible. If you are not attending this year please arrange for a friend to bring them or forward them to Cynthia Neptune 30 Ivanhoe, Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 9AW telephone: 0191 252 9151. Your contributions will be most thankfully received and all the money raised will be used to benefit those sick or in need.

It was in 1999 that the Auction of props and books donated by members to be sold became a listed event in the Convention programme. It is expected this year’s Auction will attract great interest as it includes the entire collection of props, library and manuscripts of our late respected member Fred Hughes aka John Fox. His whole collection has painstakingly been sorted and collated by Donald Bevan and will be auctioned by the formidable team of Derek Lever and Michael Shepherd at 1.15pm on Saturday 26th September in the Waterfront Suite Room. Be advised. This is not a ‘junk’ sale as it contains a number of props which could be of great interest to the discerning collector. A list of the props available can be seen by going to the Announcements page in the Members Area of this website. If you are not a member you can receive the list of what’s on offer by making an e.mail request to me at bobring25@aol.com To be able to make a bid you must be registered for the whole Convention or have a Saturday day ticket.

It is now just four weeks before the 73rd Annual Convention of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians starts so there is still time for you to make your registration. All you have to do is press the Register button and follow the instructions. Nothing could be simpler. You know you want to do it. So do it …now!


Bob Hayden, British Ring PRO, August 2009. www.britishring.org.uk




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