THERE was magic in the air at a Bournemouth retirement home as residents marvelled at the antics of a world-renowned magician.

Shawn Farquhar, the international president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, stunned residents at Glenhurst Manor with a series of sleight-of-hand card tricks.

The Canadian conjurer was in town for the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ convention, which has returned to Bournemouth after a 63-year absence.

Neil Roberts, the British Ring president, said: “It’s the first time we’ve been to Bournemouth since 1951 and it’s good to be back.

“Wherever we go for our convention, we always go into the community and spread the magic through the town, particularly to people who might not be able to make it to a show.”

Magicians performed for teenagers supported by the Youth Cancer Trust earlier in the day before putting on an impromptu show at Glenhurst Manor on the West Cliff. Doreen Dowle, 81, declared herself “flabbergasted” when Shawn made her watch disappear from her wrist and appear behind her ear. “It’s very impressive,” she said. “It’s been great and really lifted our spirits.”

There was also a special bedside performance for 106-year-old resident Hilda Baybutt, who was stunned at Shawn’s card tricks. “I can’t believe it,” she told him. “You have cheered me up no end.”

Shawn said: “That’s why I do magic. I get all the joy from seeing the magic in people’s eyes.

“I was the son of a magician so I didn’t have any of that wonderment but I saw it in everybody else. It lights up your heart, it makes your day, it’s got to be the most gratifying feeling.

“Ninety percent of magicians are not big magicians touring the world, they’re people who do stuff locally. For them it’s not about a sense of ‘I have wonder’, it’s about giving it.

“I’ve not been back for this convention for a few years and I’m very excited. Bournemouth is a wonderful place and I really love coming to England.”

n The British Ring of the IBM will be in Bournemouth until Sunday and their convention will be attended by more than 500 magicians from around the world. While much of it will be behind closed doors, there will be two public shows at the Pavilion Theatre on Saturday – the Sooty and Friends Magic Show in the morning and a Gala of Magic and Variety in the evening. Tickets for both shows are still available.