An illustrious illusionist is hoping to score a top place in a high profile magic competition.

Steve Gore, 35, of Queensbury, will take part in the stage and close-up sections of the Northern Magic Circle's annual contest in Scarborough tomorrow.

He was the first magician in the Northern Magic Circle's 50-year history to scoop four trophies in comedy, originality, representing the Bradford circle and stage work all in the same year in 2004.

And he is hoping for a repeat performance this year.

He said: "Patch the Magic Pooch has been learning to blow balloons and he'll be helping me with some card tricks in the stage section.

"My three-year-old daughter Deanna loves him, he's her best friend."

Steve's act for the close-up contest is based on the letter T so his tricks will feature anything from time travel to cups of tea.

He said: "I do close-up magic in restaurants, at weddings and I do children's parties too - I really enjoy it."

Steve, who is practice manager at Victoria Gore Optometrists which he runs with his wife Victoria in High Street, Queensbury, has juggled, balloon moulded and played tricks since an early age.

He said: "The first trick I ever learned was probably just a simple card trick. I think it was the one where the four kings rise to the top of the pack.

"I got into magic when I was a kid. A friend of my parents would pull coins from behind my ears, things like that.

"And of course I had a Paul Daniels Magic Set as a child.

"I became semi professional when I joined the Magic Circle at 18."

But Steve, of Low Lane, Queensbury, is not ready to give away any secrets of the Magic Circle. He said: "I've never been tempted - I don't want to get thrown out."

The competition is part of a two-day convention in Scarborough. Hundreds of magicians are expected to attend where they will swap tips and tricks and meet with their magician mates.

The event will culminate with a public show on Sunday night at Scarborough's YMCA Theatre.

Competition organiser Cynthia Neptune said: "Steve has won the stage competition before and I think he's probably got to have a good chance. He's won quite a few things over the years."

e-mail: tanya.orourke