2019 AGM

CDWS AGM Coleshill Village Hall May 17th

A good turnout of over fifty members set the scene for an informative, interesting and illusionary evening.

Our Chairman, David Powell got off to a good start (this being his first year as Chairman and hence his first chairing of the AGM) by welcoming us all. In particular Thelma and John Lusher who had traveled all the way from the New Forest. The reports for the year were encouraging; membership strong at one hundred and sixteen; finances in good shape; two new members of the committee have volunteered their services – Merle Davies and Peter Chapman; and there has been strong support for all the events over the year. Particular thanks were directed towards Graham Beavan on his retirement after a long tenure as Treasurer.

Jonathan Pegler had briefly taken on the role of Treasurer to fill the gap and so he presented the Accounts for the year. Under his watch the magnificent sum of £20 had been dealt with. Peter Chapman has now stepped into Graham’s shoes.

The formal part of the evening was, as ever, well presented and short and was followed by a meal. The caterer was Anne Tennant who clearly knows exactly what the members of the CDWS enjoy, and on this occasion was like a human dynamo. The rest of her team were at an event catering for the mayor of Beaconsfield so Anne was chief cook and bottle washer and everything in between. Well done Anne! The choice of desserts was particularly appreciated. Bread and Butter pudding and custard, Chocolate mousse, cheese and biscuits, Fruit Pavlova and I spotted a fruit salad for someone dairy intolerant. The gentlemen on our table made a bee-line for the Bread and Butter pudding, and then when Anne explained that she really didn’t want to take anything home, they were happily also tucking into Pavlova. No doubt belts were loosened.

After the meal came the entertainment. This year it was the place of Bertie Pearce whose web site says that he “…brings wonder and laughter to your event”. We were not disappointed on either count. The theme was “Now you See it-Now you Don’t, The Art of Visual Deception”. This was a whistle-stop tour through Surrealism, Trompe L’eoil, Ambiguous Imagery, Optical Art and Camouflage. Fascinating, thought provoking, puzzling, entertaining, amusing and all delivered at a pace that kept you on your toes, engaged and surprised. A particular ripple of amusement occurred when Bertie said that in America artists had used illusionary methods to paint potholes on the road which appeared to be 3D in order to reduce speeding. Here in Buckinghamshire we have no need for artists’ illusions. We have the real thing.

Interspersed with the artistic journey were a number of magical moments. Ably assisted by our very own Ann Lawrence, Kay Day and Gwen Hill, Bertie performed mysterious and inexplicable tricks. Ann, Kay and Gwen have clearly been sworn into secrecy as they were reluctant to share any explanations afterwards. Perhaps they could be prevailed upon at a future event to offer magical entertainment?


The evening closed at 10 pm everyone having been well entertained and well fed. Thank you to all.

Janet John

Magic Circle 5th November 2013

Circle Stairs1This can’t be the place!

Many of us thought that we were lost when the coach dropped us off in North Gower Street and we made our way down Stephenson Way. We walked down a dark quiet cobbled street with no sign of a theatre, just offices and goods entrances. Then, near the end of the street, there was a small entrance with people going in – we’d found it.

We signed in and climbed a steep spiral staircase to a large room with many displays of props and accessories of famous magicians – David Nixon, Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, Houdin and Houdini were all represented.

Chairs were set out in groups of 20 around small tables, and our party was split into 2 with 20 in one group and 6 in another.

Soon the first magicians arrived – one to each table – only a foot or two from the audience. We had a series of 4 magicians demonstrating their close-up magic skills, and each selected at least one member of the audience to assist!

Patricia Payne was persuaded to demonstrate a finger guillotine and was very brave as the blade descended without any ill effect.

Irene Powell does a magic trick!

Gwen Finnerty and Irene Powell proved to be able assistants – Irene demonstrating a levitating card. Rob Brett and Liz Seely showed that they could not keep hold of cards in their hands as they mysteriously moved from one person’s closed hand to another.
Rob Brett and Liz Seely
We then had a talk on the history of magic from Egyptian times to the present day, including the formation of the Magic Circle in 1905.

A light meal was provided and we all looked for somewhere to sit and were joined by some of the magicians who continued to amaze us with tricks which seemed to be just impossible.

We then went back to the theatre where we watched acts by 4 different magicians, a couple of whom were familiar from the Penn & Teller television programme.

The show went on until almost 11:00, but our coach driver didn’t seem to mind that we were late and we got back home before 12:00.

The universal feeling was that the whole experience was simply Magic!