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Jack Mayes

Blue Collar Rat


Jack was popular with everyone, with Jack, what you saw is what you got. He thought that falling out with anyone was a complete waste of time, as life was too short. He was born in Dagenham on the 7th January 1932, then moved to White City with his two sisters, Olive and Connie. They were quite a poor family.

In 1950, Jack's life changed when he was called up for Army National Service. - For the first time in Jack's life he had two pairs of trousers - so he straight away signed up for 3 years. He started his time posted to Germany and driving tanks. He returned to England for his last year and became a chauffeur for the Major, driving a big staff car.

The next change came when Jack met Mavis. Every time he could (between driving the Major) the car was parked outside her parent's house - Mavis being the attraction. Jack's first Magic trick was the 'OMO Trick' (three dirty handkerchiefs become clean in an OMO box) bought from Harry Stanley. While Jack working for Harry Stanley he invented a light bulb that lit up in your hand (remember this was the 50's), also 'The Three Spacemen' was one of Jack's. If you look in Harry Stanley's old catalogues you will see more tricks that Jack invented.

Jack and Mavis married in 1955 and lived for a while in Ladbroke Grove where he heard about 'The Zodiac Magic Club' and became a member in 1956. With their son, Robert, they moved to Stevenage - sister Olive and family followed. Jack, although always busy working with his Magic and (small) 'Hairy Harry Puppet Show', decided to have a 'large' Hairy Harry made. It cost 400 pounds which was a lot of money then. Jack worked on the QE2, in theatres, halls and private functions, all over the place - Scotland, Jersey, Wales and even Australia.

Jack was a member of the I.B.M. (International Brotherhood of Magic) and for many years he produced the I.B.M. Children's Saturday Show. He was a 'Member of the Inner Magic Circle (M.I.M.C.) Gold Star'. For all the work Jack did in raising money for the new Magic Circle Headquarters, he was made a Life Member. Jack was a School Governor, a member of the Concert Artistes' Association, a Freemason (London Grand Rank), a Captain of the Vaudeville Golf Society and a member of the Knebworth Golf Club - he played a big part in the I.B.M. golf day.

I was very proud to put Jack up to become a member of the Grand Order of Water Rats (there are only 200 in the world). He was initiated on the 7th November 1999 and he was so proud. Once he settled in to the Order he began raising money for its charity by putting on shows at the Gordon Craig Theatre.

Sadly, after 49 years of marriage, Jack lost Mavis 2 years ago. After this we became even closer and spoke to each other on the phone almost every day. Quite often while talking to Norma on the phone he would say "What are you doing today?". If Norma said "Nothing special" Jack's reply was "I'll call in then". Norma would then tell him the lunch or dinner time. (we knew the script before anything was said). We will miss those calls and his company at the table.

Jack leaves behind his son Robert, daughter-in-law Paula and grandson George who he loved dearly. All your family and friends (home and abroad) will miss you.

Jack my old mate ... Rest in Peace

Terry Burgess, PTR, RoY'03
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