Popular Stevenage magician dies after losing cancer battle

A popular children s entertainer in Comet country has died after a long battle against cancer. Chris Larkins, who performed under the name of Rex Taylor, 74, of Austen Paths, Stevenage, was a well known magician who entertained thousands of children with

A popular children's entertainer in Comet country has died after a long battle against cancer.

Chris Larkins, who performed under the name of Rex Taylor, 74, of Austen Paths, Stevenage, was a well known magician who entertained thousands of children with his frog puppet Croaker.

Mr Larkins died in the Garden House Hospice in Letchworth GC at the weekend after suffering from myeloma cancer for 18 months. Even though he was ill, Mr Larkins still managed to play a regular round of golf and enjoyed attending is allotment.

Mr Larkins and his wife Barbara, whom he met at Butlins in Clacton, moved to Austen Paths in 1960 where he worked as a metallurgist with British Aerospace.

He became a full-time magician in the 1970s, had a spell as a wrestler, and entertained with his Punch & Judy shows nationwide.

Mr Larkins also developed a mentalism and mind reading act and he made several appearances at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and did lecture tours in the USA and Canada. He also did a mind reading show at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage.

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He also made several appearances in award-winning TV shows such as Some Mothers Do Ave Em, Softly Softly, Butterflies, Dixon of Dock Green and Tales of the Unexpected as well as TV commercials.

Mr Taylor and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary eight days before he died with their two children Tony and Denise.

"All our friends always enjoyed going to birthday parties at our house as they knew they would see some magic," said Denise.

"We would like to thank the staff at Garden House Hospice and the Macmillan Nurses who helped enormously."

A celebration of Mr Larkins' life will take place at Harwood Park Crematorium, Stevenage, next Tuesday at 10.15am when the family say all friends are welcome but have requested no flowers and mourners not to wear black with donations to Garden House Hospice or Macmillan Nurses through the family.

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