A soldier who is also the only magician to ever win Britain’s Got Talent has been fondly remembering his most memorable performances for serving personnel and their families - thanks to his relationship with forces entertainers BFBS Live Events.
Lance Corporal Richard Jones, who can boast of being a member of the Inner Magic Circle with a gold star, the most prestigious honour among magicians, has performed magic shows for Britain’s Armed Forces and their families around the world since his spectacular Britain’s Got Talent win in 2016.
He has, however, many more memorable moments during his time with BFBS Live Events, formally known as Combined Services Entertainment, or 'CSE'. He said:
“Probably the most memorable shows that I've done in my whole performing career have been with CSE.”
His strong relationship with BFBS Live Events has seen him perform in places such as Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands and also at a special one-off 2019 event for Social Media Spouses - a free social media training programme for military spouses and partners.
These are the gigs he holds dearest because he knows how important it is to give the men and women who serve in far flung places some time to forget about where they are and enjoy themselves. He said:
“It’s all about taking people out of the environment that they're in for a little bit.
“Afghanistan was the biggest for this because they hadn't seen a show and obviously a lot of them weren't able to call home and yeah we turned up and put on a surprise show for them.
“Made them feel like they were just out about in London for a night out with friends.”
The magician joined the British Army in 2010 and, after three years with the Band of the Parachute Regiment, joined the Band of the Household Cavalry as a mounted dutyman. Speaking with broadcaster Hal Stewart, of BFBS, the Forces Station, about his time in the British Army before his big break on Britain’s Got Talent, he said:
“We're the guys who sit on top of the horses and play music at the same time on the Queen's Birthday parade which is quite an interesting and fascinating job which is why I decided to stay in.”
Another bucket-list moment for LCpl Jones was when BFBS Live Events asked him to perform for more than 1,000 personnel and their families in the Falkland Islands - with the cherry on top being that he was allowed to bring his veteran father with him. Serving personnel have been stationed in the Falklands since the 1982 conflict which saw 74 days of conflict between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the islands. He said:
“We also did the Falklands which was just before lockdown in January 2020.
“I was very lucky, I got to take my dad along.
“My dad’s an ex-forces man, never got to see the Falklands.”
One of LCpl Jones’s proudest moments was celebrating six years of service with the army which just happened to coincide with him winning Britain’s Got Talent, another outstanding achievement.
However, for him, the best bit of being crowned the winner was being able to wear his uniform on stage alongside the Band Of The Household Cavalry.
“The anniversary was the day that I won the show in uniform with the Band Of The Household Cavalry beside me so yeah, a proud moment.”
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LCpl Jones is passionate about pursuing both of his ambitions – a successful military career and a life spent entertaining audiences with his magic tricks and illusions.
He says he feels very fortunate that the Army has given him time to take a break and travel the world to perform shows and appear on television to promote both his work and the benefits of an Armed Forces' career in his role as an Ambassador for the British Army.
While appearing on ITV's breakfast show Lorraine in February 2018, LCpl Jones praised BFBS Live Events' morale-boosting efforts while speaking with Christine Lampard about his trip to Afghanistan. He said:
“It was one of the most appreciative audiences I think I have ever performed for.
“I teamed up with an organisation called CSE who put on shows for the military all around the world … and it was just an incredible audience.
“There were packed out rooms every night and they were really up for a good laugh.”