IT was standing room only at the funeral of popular Wiltshire magician and entertainer Jack Stephens this afternoon who died from pancreatic cancer on May 14.

Almost 300 mourners crowded into West Wiltshire Crematorium in Semington for the service which included tributes from nephew Doug Downing, Sister Karen and daughter Susie.

A newly installed screen at the crematorium was also used for the first time, displaying hundreds of family pictures throughout the funeral.

At the end of the service mourners, starting with Mr Stephen’s family, laid roses on the coffin.

In her tribute Miss Stephens said: “We knew dad was popular but even we have been overwhelmed with the amount of people that paid tributes to him, which gives us a small comfort.”

The 62-year-old, of Nether Street in Bromham, had been a full time magician for more than 25 years, having entertained thousands of children in that time.

Originally from South Africa Mr Stephens moved to the UK in 1980, where he met wife of 31 years Rosemary and the couple had two children Caroline, 29, and Susie, 27.

Primary working in Wiltshire and the surrounding counties he also performed worldwide and a highlight of his career was giving a performance to the Queen at a private lunch party in 2003.

Mr Stephens only found out he had cancer over Easter of this year and died with wife Rosemary by his side in the early hours of May 14 in Salisbury Hospital.

He was a master of close-up magic and specialised in balloon modelling, puppetry, origami and singing with his guitar.

Mr Stephens was also a member of the Magic Circle, The International Brotherhood of Magicians and Equity who sent representatives to his funeral.

Magician Barry Jordan, who performs across the world, knew Mr Stephens for over 20 years and the pair used to perform at Swindon Town FC every year.

He said: “It is such a shock that Jack has gone as he was like a brother to me.

“We always used to trade tricks with each other, he was a super gentle man and an excellent magician."

Calne magician and photographer Peter Stedman said: “I knew Jack for more than 20 years a he contacted me when he first moved to Wiltshire.

"For more than 10 years we made videos of Jack’s tricks for people to view online.

“I will miss him terribly as we used to email almost every day.”

After the service mourners headed to the family home in Bromham to celebrate Mr Stephens’ life.