STEVE EASTHAM: A TRIBUTE
Never happier than when sat at a table with a deck of cards, ready to show you a trick. This is how I, and most members, will remember Steve…
Steve Eastham was not only a great friend and mentor, but we were related by marriage. That is to say, he was my wife’s uncle. My own interest in magic goes back many years, largely because ‘Uncle Steven’ always treated us to ‘a bit of magic’ at Christmas and other family get-togethers. It wasn’t until my son Jack began to take an interest that I made the jump from enthusiastic spectator to hare-brained performer. Jack became a junior member of the Blackpool club where, with Steve’s help, he continued to improve his skills and I am forever proud that he won the Tom Owen Shield on his very first stage competition. Steve helped many others, adults and juniors alike, and was one of Magic’s true gentlemen.
It's not an understatement to say that without Steve's help and constant encouragement, I probably would not be a member of the MML today. He gave me all the introductions and recommended I join. More importantly, he tirelessly guided me through the acquisition of many of the card sleights I have under command and sourced many effects that suited my personality. He gave freely of his time and energies to helping me gain the confidence and presentational skills needed to perform in public. He also encouraged me to apply, and then proposed me, for membership of the Magic Circle, smoothing the way for me to see Tom Owen for that vital first interview.
Steve's own magical background goes back to his father, who was always performing tricks in the local pubs and clubs. Steve naturally took up the challenge and became very adept, turning semi-pro at a very early age. Steve became a member of the exclusive Cavendish Knights of Close-Up Magic, and I owe my own membership there to Steve's influence. He was a member of The Magic Circle and held the honour of AIMC with Silver Star, gained in part through his tireless work for Blackpool Magicians’ Club. Steve, along with other notable members like Tom Owen, Ian Ogilvy and Bill Lamb was fundamental in making the convention what it is today. He helped take it from its relatively humble beginnings as a one-day event in the Horseshoe Bar to the leviathan it grew into. Steve served on the Blackpool Magicians’ Club Committee for many years. He was elected for two terms as President, and was conferred with the Murray Award for his services to Magic, gaining himself an Honorary Life Membership along the way. Towards the end of his time at Blackpool he served as Treasurer, and he related countless stories of the dealings he had when paying artists from around the world; some quite scary! Steve compered hundreds of Convention shows, as well as performing in many too. He worked for many years at a number of residences in and around the Fylde, and had even worked on the famous Orient Express. He had many awards to his name, and was recognised by many for his contributions to Magic in general, and by the numerous clubs of which he was a member. The Northern Magic Circle, The IBM, the Modern Mystic League and the original Fylde Mystics all favoured him with honours, and I’m sure would agree that they were richer for his involvement.
I mourn his passing deeply, but I take comfort in the fact that I know many members of the League will do the same. Allan