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I love to build illusions and create magic equipment. I auditioned for the Magic Circle and was accepted when I was in my 40s!

Ray Hawkes, Magician

New Oscott Village

Meet Ray!

Ray found magic later in life. After battling health issues he moved to an ExtraCare village and has recently learned how to pull his first pint volunteering behind the bar. He discusses his extra ordinary life at New Oscott Village.


I became interested in magic when my son joined a marching band and I started helping with their equipment. The band’s leader happened to be a magician, and I became his assistant. He encouraged me to audition for the Magic Circle, and after the audition, I was accepted. This happened when I was in my 40s.

I am usually more behind the scenes than the one in front of the audience, but I love to build illusions or make the equipment. My wife and I used to be involved in the Big Top too.

We’ve been at New Oscott Village for 18 months now. For me, it was a case of moving for my health, if something happens to me my wife has a community and friends around her now. I had to have a kidney removed recently and haven’t been in great health, but I am feeling better now. We were doing a lot of child-minding for my son before, which meant driving from West Bromwich to where he lived, so we decided to move closer to the area.

I think being here has greatly helped me health-wise, I’m confident that if anything happens, I have people here to assist, and it’s a nice, friendly atmosphere. You feel good here.

I go to Tai Chi on a Wednesday; I’ve just started it. My wife volunteers at the bistro and the bar, and I’m a member of the gym. I use the gym four days a week. Even doing just a little bit of movement makes you feel better.

My wife and I are 81 and 78 and we’ve just had the joy of learning how to pull a pint after volunteering at the bar. We spent some time getting into the community as I was in and out of hospital when we first moved in, but we’ve now widened our circle of friends here. By volunteering you’re not just helping ExtraCare you are helping yourself meet people. We’ve met more people since doing teas and coffees and they now know us as well. People say hello now, everybody’s friendly and you feel like you belong.

We get to see more of our grandson who is seven now, it’s so much easier than having to travel far to see each other. We now pick him up from school once a week. They are just ten minutes’ drive away.

Now, if I have any kind of health scare, we can pull a cord and somebody comes. I have not regretted moving here once, my wife had her reservations at first but now she loves it, I honestly believe the outcome health-wise would have been different if we had been at home.

Other Stories

The best thing is having the support. We see each other most days. You can argue with a friend and you could never speak to them again but if you argue with a sibling they are still your sibling in the morning. I’m very protective of my brothers.”

Betty, Jim and Liam

Hagley Road Village

Finding this community is the best thing I ever did. The key is perseverance. Even if I don’t feel like going to the gym I go three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Gradually I became more able. Now we’re walking all around the perimeter of the village! It's absolutely lovely!


New Oscott Village