A veteran magician has conjured up a top award from the prestigious Magic Circle.

Terry Seabrooke, of Beechcroft Road, Bushey, was recognised by the world-famous society on Saturday night for his services to British magic.

At a gala dinner in central London he joined an elite list of performers to receive a Maskelyne award – a list that includes Paul Daniels, David Nixon and Ali Bongo.

Named after the renowned 19th Century magician and inventor John Nevil Maskelyne, known to many as the ‘father of British magic’, the award is one of the highest honours a conjurer can receive.

The shocked entertainer, a member of the Inner Magic Circle, said: “I was utterly staggered. Some of the previous winners of the Maskelyne award are real heroes of mine so to find myself ranked alongside them is a huge honour.”

Mr Seabrooke, 77, has been performing his unique brand of comedy magic for more than 50 years. In a career that has seen him travel the world “more times than he can remember” he has even performed three times for the Queen.

He added: “Magic has been very kind to me and has given me a great life. I have travelled the world and met some wonderful people along the way.

“When I started all those years ago I never thought I would go this far. It was really just a hobby that took off.

“I realised I was quite good at what I was doing and had the ability to make people laugh. Then all of a sudden people started throwing money at me to perform.

“I was working full-time in insurance sales but soon found I was earning more from the magic and decided to go full-time.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

John Nevil Maskelyne, the son of a Cheltenham watchmaker, is also remembered for inventing the penny slot device used to charge people for the use of public conveniences. The device, however, is perhaps better know for the popular euphemism it coined – “to spend a penny”.