Geoff Rushworth, now in his late 80s, rose from very humble beginnings in Shrewsbury, where his parents were also born. At age 24, just after meeting Molly, (whose first name was actually Pat) who became the love of his life, he suffered a near fatal 'hit and run' accident which left him with a severe hearing difficulty.
However this didn't stop him from teaching himself Judo, becoming Shropshire's first black belt, rising to a 5th Dan as well as going into business with his son Paul, setting up a very well-known furniture business in the town in 1981, which lasted for 32 years.
As Geoff lay in hospital recovering from his accident, his wife-to-be took him a book on magic to read. This led to his teaching himself magic and started him on the journey to becoming a great and well-respected magician, travelling the world on cruise ships, appearing with Molly at the London Palladium and performing for top Hollywood stars, such as Cary Grant, Tony Curtis and Priscilla Presley. By then he was using his stage name Geoff Ray – by which many people still know him.
During this time, Geoff and Molly had met and become good friends of the late magician Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie McGee. In the foreword to Geoff's book she writes: "With my late husband, Paul Daniels, we met so many magicians, but only made real friends with a few... Geoff Ray and his late wife Pat (Molly), were two of those people."
Geoff's wife of 65 years developed Alzheimer's disease and sadly died in late 2020. Both Geoff's son Paul, also a well-known magician, comedian and singer as well as daughter Julie, had begun to get involved in fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK, the leading dementia research charity, through the Shropshire Fundraising Group.
And so Geoff's final tribute to his beloved wife, Molly, is to donate all the profits of the privately-published book to the charity.
Katie Foster, chair of the Alzheimer's Research UK Fundraising Group, said: "Alzheimer's is such a cruel disease which affects 1 in 3 people. Geoff's kindness is wonderful news – especially on top of all the fundraising support from the whole Rushworth family, and Paul's recent 'Lockdown Laughter' DVD.
"Geoff's story is inspiring and we are most grateful to him and encourage everyone to snap up his book. Perfect lockdown reading."
'From Shrewsbury to Hollywood' is now available at £15.99 (plus £2.85 package and posting).
Published by Haresign Press, it can be bought directly from Geoff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07761 542401.