AFTER a lifetime working in the worlds of science and schools, Mike Driver is now following his childhood dream along a very different path.

He used to be a local authority science adviser for schools and was the author and publisher of a series of educational books.

But now, thanks to some sleight of hand he’s stepped into a new role, entertaining at large scale events across North Yorkshire and the North-East – as a magician.

And he is already rated 16th out of more than 400 UK magicians who feature on a web-based business register called Freeindex.

His average customer rating is 4.8 out of a possible five stars for quality, value for money and professionalism.

Mr Driver, who lives in Stokesley, is a member of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and has been performing magic since he was a child – but now his lifelong passion is his full time work.

Until last year, he had run his own education related business, including writing and publishing books on science education, and for some years was a regular contributor at National Science Education Conferences.

But he closed his education business early last year to concentrate purely on the magic, which he is expanding.

He entertains throughout Teesside and across the whole of North Yorkshire and throughout the North-East.

He was struck by the magic bug at around the age of six, when an aunt showed him a powerful close-up effect and he was “hooked for life”.

He progressed via a David Nixon magic set to learning from books on professional magic recommended by the Magic Circle.

Until the age of 14 he worked hard at his aim to become a professional magician but was distracted for a while by schoolwork, studies at Cambridge University and Coventry College of Education and then a career in teaching and advisory work – but now he is back on the magical track.

He specialises in close-up effects but has also performed in front of crowds as big as 1,700 – and his most far-flung shows at a hospital in Ethiopia, entertaining nurses and patients.

“I loved my job but I’ve always loved magic as well,” said Mr Driver, 66.

“I originally wanted to be a professional magician but I was caught by the science bug when I was in my teens.

“Magic is full of awe and wonder – just as science can be and now I have the chance to pursue it more.”