A BUDDING magician pulled a rabbit out of the hat to beat experienced rivals to a coveted title.

Ben Proos has only been practising for two years but the 16-year-old’s flair for close-up and stage magic saw him take Modern Mystic League Challenge Cup.

And the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School pupil from Blackburn became the first junior ever to take the cup from the Modern Mystic League, which was founded in 1914 and is the fourth oldest magic society in the country.

He also beat three past winners of the trophy, which wasinaugurated in 1947.

Inspired by watching a card trick at a magic show, Ben decided to learn the tricks of the trade.

He’s had training from the Blackburn school’s English teacher Brian Lead, who runs the Conjuring Club, and Burnley-based magician Shaun McCree, and in just two years he has won every magic competition he has entered – he picked up top prize in the Junior Competition of the Northern Magic Circle and the close-up and stage magic events at the Northern Magic Circle Conference.

Ben, who has secured bookings at corporate events and hopes to perform in Las Vegas like his hero, American Jeff McBride, said: “It is a tricky art and not many people do it anymore.

“It takes a lot of practice, I practise two hours a night after school and up to six hours on weekends.”

English teacher Brian Lead said: “Ben showed a natural aptitude for magic when he first joined the Conjuring Club at Queen Elizabeth’s and now he virtually runs it.

"He is an excellent role-model for younger pupils.”