MAGNIFICENT magician Fred Barlow, formerly of Richmond, died in a Hampshire care home on April 24.

He was a magnificent' 101 and a former resident of Courtlands, Sheen Road.

A Londoner, Fred was born near Marble Arch. He became interested in magic at school and performed conjuring tricks for friends in his teens.

After World War II he was confident enough to turn professional, having changed his name from plain Percival Clack.

He was also a fine pianist and his talent brought him great success, both in the theatre and at children's parties.

In 1953 Fred was inducted into the International Brotherhood of Magicians, which boasts a membership of some 15,000 worldwide.

He was partnered on stage by his first wife Marie and after her death, by his second wife Eva whom he married when they were both in their 70s.

The popular couple continued to delight audiences until they were well into their eighties. There were no children and when Eva fell ill Fred devoted all his time to her care until she died in 1996.

With no immediate family, Fred became close to Eva's godson Norman. When eventually he was unable to manage at home in Sheen Road, Fred moved to a care home in Southsea near Norman's own Portsmouth home.

There he continued to delight the residents, playing the piano and performing magic tricks until his own death at the end of last month.

Fred's funeral took place on May 4 in Porchester.