A magician who has dazzled crowds for almost 30 years has received the highest award from the world’s most prestigious magic society.

Kevin Bird, from Epping, has been promoted to the position of member of The Inner Magic Circle, earning a gold star for performance in the process.

The award means he will now be part of The Magic Circle, where only 300 magicians can be members at one time.

“I was really surprised, it came completely out of the blue,” said Mr Bird.

Set up in 1905, The Magic Circle aims to promote the art of good magic and provide a space where people can learn, discuss and improve their skills.

Having always an interest in magic, Mr Bird became “hooked” after a friend who was already part of the society demonstrated some tricks.

His current job as a examinations secretary involves interviewing and assessing those who want to come part of the Magic Circle through its apprentice scheme.

“We are looking to see if they have the ability already with the potential to pass the exam within two years,” he explained.

“A lot of people think you need to invent a trick to become a part of the Magic Circle but actually you don’t. We cover a whole range of magic based things that are not necessarily to do with being a performer.”

Alongside Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones, special effects artists, technicians and even someone with a doctorate in magical history have been granted membership to the Inner Magic Circle.

“If everybody passed to the standard, everybody could be part of the Inner Magic Circle. But you can only be invited by Presidential appointment.” said Mr Bird.

Specialising in close-up magic, the Epping magician regularly performs at events across the country and even has a secret signature trick for fans.

When asked what makes performing so special he explained: “A friend of mine said, when you watch magic you should feel the hairs standing up on the back of your head.

“When you’ve learned how to do the effects, you lose a little bit that, but when you see their amaze and shock exactly the same when people perform, I still sometimes have no idea how its done.

“When you do things at charity event you can take them away from their worries for that little period of time. It’s a nice way to bring smiles to people’s faces.”

More information about joining The Magic Circle can be found at www.themagiccircle.co.uk