9th December 1934 – 14th July 2017
Remembered by Roger Woods
Our Honorary Life Vice President Trevor Dawson passed away in the early hours of 14th July 2017 aged 82 years at the Royal Blackburn Hospital having never recovered from the stroke he suffered some weeks before. It was a sad ending to an active life; Trevor, who had never fully retired from his firm, had always wanted to go ‘in harness’ so to speak. Until a short time before his death he had still been attending ‘at the office’ as he put it on a regular basis.
William John Trevor Dawson was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire but moved with his family to Lancashire at an early age. He became interested in magic after assisting a conjuror on stage as a twelve year old. He became a member of the Boy’s Magic Service receiving the monthly ‘Trixie’ magazine. He put together a stage show and performed at local churches and other venues. He was a keen member of the Haslingden Youth Club and the Scouts. In 1953 Jesse Demaline introduced him to The Modern Mystic League where he became Honorary Secretary in 1960.
In 1953 Trevor also attended his first British Ring Convention in Edinburgh. It was a memorable occasion as he saw Johnny Ramsay, Alex Elmsley and Johnny Platt, the latter performing his outstanding cups and balls routine. In 1957 he saw Rezvani perform at a Harry Stanley show in London and was impressed by his tomato trick which Trevor performed ever since.
It was whilst attending courses in London training to become a Chartered Surveyor that Trevor met Susan in the street when she was asking for directions. Sue came from Windsor so Trevor had a long commute whilst courting. They were married for 56 years and had three children and three grandchildren.
He always worked very hard and established his own business, the commercial property consultants Trevor Dawson in 1989; their signs can be seen all over East Lancashire. It is now an established company headed by Trevor’s elder daughter Caroline. Trevor became quite an expert at rating appeals and at valuing commercial premises. His early experience as an auctioneer at house sales came in very useful at MML magic auctions which he made into fun events usually buying most of the lots himself!
I first met Trevor nearly fifty years ago in 1970 when I wrote to him about joining The Modern Mystic League. My father had known Trevor through playing cricket for the Haslingden Cricket Club in the Lancashire League. Trevor kindly invited me to his home for a chat about magic. He showed me some good tricks and his extensive library of magic books and gave me encouraging advice about how to further my own interests in magic. Trevor was busy with his business at that time but suggested I contacted Jesse Demaline which I did. I went to see Jesse and visited him and Doris regularly then for many years. Just as Jesse had helped Trevor when he was a teenager he then helped me.
In 1971 I visited Trevor’s home again and he gave constructive criticism of some of my magic at that time. After my university studies I became a member of The Modern Mystic League in 1975 and shortly after The Cavendish Knights of Close Up Magic so I saw Trevor on a regular basis at the meetings and events of these societies over many years. We also saw each other regularly at magic conventions and travelled together to The Magic Circle in London on several occasions. A particularly memorable time was when Trevor, Mo Howarth and I went together to The Magic Circle Centenary celebrations in 2005.
Trevor had strong opinions which made him difficult to deal with sometimes but I know his motives were always heartfelt. He was generous allowing me to borrow books from his extensive magic library. We always had something of magical interest to talk about. He also had many other interests being involved with Rotary (often doing magic at their events) and his local golf clubs for example. It would have amused Trevor that his final performance was a ‘full house’ as the Church in Whalley was packed for his funeral on 26th July.
Trevor was a great enthusiast of magic, writer, lecturer, historian and collector and he loved sharing his collections with others of like mind. He regularly attended collectors’ conferences in the United States and abroad. He published two books ‘Charles Dickens Conjurer, Mesmerist and Showman’ and ‘Signor Arvi: The Forgotten Illusionist’ and various lecture notes and had a ‘One Man Parade’ in the IBM ‘Linking Ring’ in August 2010 with some twenty items. He gave many talks and lectures. He performed six times at the early Blackpool Conventions. He wrote columns for various magazines including recently the ‘Gallery of Master Magicians’ in the British Ring ‘Key Ring’ monthly. He was an Order of Merlin member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle and a member of the Society of American Magicians. He was also a life member of the Order of the Magi where he edited their magazine the ‘Magi’.
Trevor, of course, made a huge contribution to The Modern Mystic League having joined the Society on 8th March 1953. He was Secretary, Treasurer, ‘MeMeL’ Editor and three times President in 1967, 1994 and significantly during the Centenary year 2014. It was good that the Society had recognised his contribution at the AGM in 2017 by making him Honorary Life Vice President, a position very few people have held.
Trevor was a very proud and committed family man so our thoughts at this time must turn to Susan and the rest of the family, children Caroline, Andrew and Sarah and grandchildren Edward, Sarah and Abigail to whom we offer our deepest sympathies.
Roger Woods, August 2017