Posted: 24.06.20 at 15:00 by The Editor
The upcoming lifting of lockdown on July 4 is magical news for Ricky Locke of Bourne.
For the past 15 years, the 31-year-old has been performing magic at weddings, parties and other special occassions across the country.
Ricky told Nub News: "I absolutely love being a magician and I love to make people happy and smile, I believe that magic is a great way to make any occasion unforgettable My magic is fun, cheeky and light hearted, but above all, my purpose is to create memories that will last a lifetime.
"Currently It's my mission to bring live entertainment live in the living room and to help cheer up the nation with a unique and unforgettable experience."
Ricky gew up in Whittlesey near Peterborough and like many young kids at the time, had a Paul Daniels Magic Set, though he did not persue magic any further.
He continued: "It was only when a childhood friend showed me a magic trick during secondary school that I was hooked. I was amazed at how he could perform something that was out of this world and it was surely a miracle! This is where the magic began and it followed me into my working life!"
Ricky spent his early working career mostly in retail, including 15 years at Argos, with roles such as stock manager, customer service manager, store manager, regional development coach and most recently a National Trainer for the company.
He continued: "It was during this career that I really developed a strong passion for people. Whilst working in the business and learning how to lead teams to deliver exceptional customer service I also found a spark of using magic to engage people.
"Here is where the journey truly began! I would use magic at meetings to engage with others, during staff breaks in the canteen and even when I was training I would use magic during my workshops and keynotes to convey a message more powerfully.
"During this, time outside of work I would perform at private parties, charity events and weddings.In the background, this is where I started to build my business as a professional magician.
"I am now a professional magician who works predominantly in the wedding industry and I am a proud member of the Magic Circle and recently I was President of The Peterborough Society Of Magicians. It is my purpose to create memories that will last a lifetime!"
Ricky's other accolades include being 2020 Regional Finalist in The Wedding Industry Awards for Wedding Magic, 2020 Highly Commended in The Wedding Industry Awards for Wedding Magic and 2019 Regional Finalist in The Wedding Industry Awards for Wedding Magic.
These days, at least until lockdown, Ricky would be classes as a professional wedding magician, performing at roughly 40 -50 weddings a year, plus many private and corporate events throughout the year.
Ricky said: "This year was set to be a really big year, 2020 was the year of weddings. Unfortunately, the lockdown has seriously affected the wedding Industy.
"Between April - October is the peak of wedding season. The lockdown has unfortunately meant that 30 weddings I had booked in had, pardon the pun, disappeared overnight.
"Thankfully most have been postponed to next year and not many weddings have been cancelled.
"However, this has seriously affected income for myself and many other suppliers in this industry. I now had no income coming in for April - June.
"For a wedding business that relies on large gatherings, the sad news of COVID has certainly affected many emotionally and financially. Many businesses may not survive this tough time.
"Because of these effects, 2021 will now be set to be the biggest year of weddings ever, with even more postponed weddings reschedued and filling up the calendar next year."
The lockdown meant Ricky had to adapt, to create a new way of working.
He explained: "My main source of marketing was from meeting couples at wedding fairs. Of course this now meant that these could also not continue so I really needed to think how I could use my skills to create a new platform to survive.
"This is where the idea came for #LiveInYourLivingRoom. I started off by recording and performing a few special performances for couples that had to postpone their weddings. I received some great feedback that it really brought a smile through this difficult and uncertain time. So I decided that maybe I could use this as a way to keep people's spirits high and cheer up the nation! Hence ... The Online interactive magic and mind reading show!
"I now invite couples, families, corporate companies to join me in my zoom online, interactive magic and and mind reading show!
"Whether it's to boost the morale of the team whilst working at home. Celebrate a special occasion during lockdown with the family or an alternative solution if you are bored of watching Netflix! My show creates a unique and unforgettable experience that brings families together and distracts them from the hard times of lockdown."
Such performances have to many great testimonials (see below).
But with the announcement of fewer lockdown restrictions after July 4, Ricky is confident of better times ahead and the return of those weddings.
He said: "It's great news with the recent announcement that from July 4th Weddings can proceed. This is very hopeful for couples and suppliers for the next few months.
"As well the reopening of pubs and restaurants, (although we are still waiting to hear how receptions will proceed), I am confident that later this year we may even be able to have a full wedding party again (Albeit it with reduced numbers).
"With my service, I predict there will be some restrictions in place. Such as limited touching of props like cards, magic effects. Hand sanitizer will likely be carried and used for every performance to every group and potentially a restricted distance to perform to.
"However, the power of online shows has proved that you don't necessarily need to be very close to still engage, entertain and create magical memories. There is hope for us all and I am sure that we will all be back to some normality soon and people can still experience the power of close up magic at weddings and events!"
"During lockdown, my family and I were due to go on holiday to Ibiza where we love to go to Cafe Mambo and see the Mambo Magician. Knowing that we weren't going to Ibiza, i booked us the next best thing - Ricky Locke in our living rooms! Ricky set up our own 'zoom room' and put on an amazing performance for all of the family. We all had a fantastic night and were amazed by the tricks that Ricky did for us. The whole show was really engaging and entertaining. Thank you Ricky for bringing a bit of Ibiza magic to Deeping St James! " - Rachel Newsome
"I watched Ricky's zoom magic show and I was not disappointed! I watched with my husband and sons and we were all glued to the screen. Ricky's interaction with the audience is brilliant. He makes sure everyone feels part of the show and it’s just like he is there with you in your home. It is brilliant that during these times we can still enjoy some safe close up magic! I can’t wait to see another!" - Hayley Durkin