ERNIE Jones, who has died aged 89, both taught and entertained thousands of young people as headmaster of Didcot Manor Junior School and later as a children's magician.

Mr Jones was a member of the Home Counties Magical Society for 39 years, also serving as president, and toured the county inspiring young magicians.

In his latter years he worked at the Sue Ryder charity shop in Wallingford and was still entertaining nurses at his Rush Court Nursing Home right up to his death earlier this month.

Ernest William Jones was born in October 1928 to parents Earnest Samuel Jones, a soldier in the Gloucestershire Regiment, and Emily Jones.

The eldest of four, he grew up with his siblings Bob, Sid and Dot in Bristol.

He was schooled in the area and joined the RAF as a navigator of Wellington aircraft, but shortly after the Second World War moved to Canada to work in the oil drilling business.

He returned to the UK to train as a teacher in Bristol in the 1950s and took up his first teaching role at Sea Mills Primary School in the city.

During his teacher training he met his future wife Joan and they married on March 31, 1956.

He then became headteacher at Kemble Primary School in Gloucestershire and they settled in the village where they brought up their four children, Kim, Mark, Neil and Ian.

In 1974 the family moved to Oxfordshire when Mr Jones became headmaster at Didcot Manor Primary School and they lived in Cholsey.

He had always had a passion for magic, but after retiring at the age of 55 he embarked on a second career as a children's magician, performing at birthdays and parties across Oxfordshire and further afield.

His daughter Kim said he 'lived for the smiles and looks of surprise on people's faces'.

In 1992 he became president of the Home Counties Magical Society, a group he was a member of for 39 years in total, and contributed regularly to the Reading Junior Days – an annual competition for young magicians.

A respected member of The Magic Circle he invented tricks for others and was instrumental in training younger generations to become magicians.

In his later years he worked at the Sue Ryder charity shop in Wallingford and regularly helped out at their auctions.

He died on November 5 and is survived by his four children Kim, Mark, Neil and Ian.

His funeral will take place at South Oxfordshire Crematorium on Monday at 11am – all are welcome.