Sunday, 21 July 2019

Debbie has festival crowd laughing with stories of life with magician

Debbie has festival crowd laughing with stories of life with magician

DEBBIE McGEE showed she had a magic touch when it comes to entertaining an audience at the Wargrave Festival.

About 250 people attended the festival marquee at Mill Green where she presented Paul Daniels’ Magic Life on Wednesday last week.

McGee, who lives in the village, was married to Daniels from 1988 until his death in March 2016 from a brain tumour aged 77.

The couple were huge supporters of the community and would perform together at the biennial festival.

Tim Hodges, who is friends with Debbie, said: “It was the first time she has ever reflected on the life of Paul to an audience and I thought she did really well.

“She showed a lot of clips that people had not seen before and opened up our eyes to the man Paul was while providing a real life glimpse into their lives together.

“It was really nice to see that they were a really close couple and how everything they did was as a team, even though she was perhaps more in the background as Paul was always in the foreground.

“The thing I liked was the way she told of how they spent time developing their magic tricks together and how they worked hard on them and also the variety, both the ones where people were sat at a chair to the ones where Debbie was strung up and sawn in half.

“One of the clips that got much laughter was when Paul was trying a conjuring trick using two baby chimpanzees, which I had never seen before.”

At the end of the performance, festival chairman Graham Howe presented McGee with a bunch of flowers and said: “There are not flowers from me as the chairman, and not from the committee, but from the whole of Wargrave for being a contributor.”

Mr Hodges added: “Debbie is now a performer in her own right and has grown in confidence since she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, which really turned her career round.”

On Friday, Mr Hodges hosted Jazz on a Summer’s Night at Wargrave Boating Club, which was a sell-out with 250 people.

He said: “We have been doing this for 30 years, having started in 1989 and this was the best one we have done. All six performers have won awards – it was just idyllic.”

Thousands of people attended the various events over the past week, which included Dancing under a Spell, Wargrave’s own Strictly-style dance competition and the family food and fun day, both on Saturday and the open gardens around the village on Sunday.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will see a parade through the village, which departs at 1.15pm in Highfield Park and ends at the fete at Mill Green where, at 7pm in the marquee there will be the Wargrave Variety Show.

On Sunday the final event of this year’s festival is the BBO Big Band Show, also in the marquee. Doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start.

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