Magical success for Luke

PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:41 05 July 2010

Most 16-year-olds would have been glued to their televisions on Saturday night as they watched contestants throwing themselves at the mercy of X Factor judges.

Most 16-year-olds would have been glued to their televisions on Saturday night as they watched contestants throwing themselves at the mercy of X Factor judges.

But there was magic in the air in Cromer as teenage conjuror Luke Cook became the pride of the county by winning the Norfolk Find a Star talent show.

During his ten minute set Luke pulled a series of miraculous tricks as he conjured umbrellas and sponge balls out of mid-air and defied the laws of physics by making metal chains fall apart.

The young sorcerer secured himself a star role at the pier's Seaside Special show next year as he beat off 11 other show business hopefuls at the pier pavilion. Other acts included a comical clown, a ventriloquist and talented singers.

Luke, 16 and born in Gorleston, did not let the pressure get to him as he wowed the panel of hard to impress judges, including EDP assistant Paul Durrant and Di Cooke show creator from pier operators Openwide International.

And as an added stress for the talented trickster there was a power cut just before he was announced as the winner.

Luke now hopes next year's appearance in the Seaside Special show for 12 weeks will be a spring broad to magic stardom.

He said: “I could not believe it when they said I had won. When I was back stage I could hear the singers and was very impressed as they sounded amazing. It was hard to know if the judges can see what is going on in my act.”

Luke has been practising magic since he was six and continually rehearses his sleight of hand tricks.

He said: “As I walk down the street I always have a coin in my hand so I can practise. And I joined college to study construction so I can make props for my act.”

Luke, who now lives in Lowestoft, promised the next year's act in Cromer Pier Pavilion would be even more spectacular as he plans to make people disappear.

Twelve acts entered the contest and during Saturday afternoon the judges whittled them down to eight who then went on to perform in front of a live audience during the night.

The Norfolk Find a Star judges announced two joint runners-up - singers Jocelyn Warby, from Bacton, near Cromer, and Christopher Brown from Sprowston.

Other acts included 59-year-old former Cromer Job centre worker and singer Judi, clown and ex-GP Barbara Cooper and ventriloquist Daniel Forde-Pogson.

Singers Gemma Harvey, Gordon James, James Ward, Genevieve Plunkett, Davie J and Martin Richmond also took part.

EDP judge Paul Durrant said: “All the judges were hugely impressed by the standard. It just shows what talent we have in Norfolk.

“I am a sucker for magic acts and Luke's a great young magician, funky and confident. He'll slot in brilliantly with the rest of the Cromer cast.”

The competition's other judges were Rory Holbourn, from Openwide, David Clayton from the BBC Radio Norfolk, Amanda Howell of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society, dance teacher Marlene Duniam and father and son pier act Simmons and Simmons.

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