Thursday, 11 August 2022

Friends pay tribute to magician Paul Daniels

FRIENDS and residents of Wargrave, where Paul Daniels lived, have paid tribute to the magician.

FRIENDS and residents of Wargrave, where Paul Daniels lived, have paid tribute to the magician.

Daniels died at his riverside home on Thursday last week, less than a month after it was announced he had an inoperable brain tumour.

He and his wife Debbie McGee came to live in Wargrave in 1998 and made scores of appearances at community and charity events in the area over the years.

Graham Howe, president of Wargrave Festival, said: “Paul was known for his charisma and humour but privately he had all those plus he would listen to what you were saying.

“He really helped us in the early stages. We did not know what we were doing and he gave us advice. He would help with details and be professional in his approach without making you feel overawed by this massive entertainer.

“He was always willing to listen and channelled his enthusiasm and passion into whatever we asked him to do. Debbie and Paul have been fantastic contributors to us and we would be happy to give Debbie and the family support in whatever way they need, just as they have supported us over the years.”

Daniels raised at least £12,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution with his shows at the festival since 2003.

Michael Porter, chairman of the Wargrave branch of the charity, said: “We were very sad to hear the news about Paul. He was a great supporter of the RNLI with his shows and our car boat sales. He and Debbie were an absolute pleasure to work with. We want to express our deepest sympathy to Debbie and members of the family.”

Daniels had been president of Wargrave Theatre Workshop for 10 years.

Joy Haynes, membership secretary, said: “Obviously we’re very, very sorry to lose him. Our thoughts are with Debbie. Paul is a great loss to the village and to the workshop. He was so enthusiastic in everything he did. He had lots of suggestions for what we should do and was always interested. We shall really, really miss him.”

Artist Bill Mundy, who lives in Wargrave Road, said: “Paul was an extremely kind man and was very kind to me. He was a good friend and we had great times together. We used to go to Henley Royal Regatta together and we would go boating together as we both live on the river.

“He was a very knowledgeable man — if I ever needed to know something I could not find on Google I would go to him. For example he told me, and drew for me, how an engine works. Being an artist, I had no idea about mechanical things. He also spent a lot of time editing my 300-page autobiography and made a few suggestions.

“People don’t realise that, as well as his amazing magical ability and humour, Paul was kind, thoughtful, loving and a great friend. I am going to miss him.”

Singer Vince Hill, from Shiplake, said: “We have never seen anyone like him or will see someone like him again. He was a brilliant magician and a lovely man and will be sorely missed.”

Photo courtesy of Tim Cook.

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