A MEMORIAL service for tragic Bolton illusionist Richard De Vere is to be held in Blackpool on Friday.

Tributes have been paid to the entertainer after his death from a heart attack in Thailand on March 10.

Mr De Vere, whose parents Chris and Christine and sister Philippa still live in Harwood, was on an annual holiday in South East Asia with partner Marc Lawlor.

His ashes have now been returned to the UK and fans, friends and family will be paying respects to Mr De Vere at the Viva Blackpool.

Viva’s director Martin Heywood, who was also born in Bolton, said: “This is a tragic loss and Richard was due to do Monday and Tuesday of our summer season from June.

“We do not think he will be replaced and Marc has talked of doing tribute shows to Richard but we are not going to think about that until after the service.”

Tributes at the service, organised by Mr Lawlor, starts at about 12.30pm on March 28 and will last about an hour.

Photos and videos from the popular magician's career to be shown at the venue.

Mr De Vere’s management said: “It’s a chance for the family to not only share their loss, but stories of their happy times with Richard both on and off the stage.

“All are welcome to attend and pay tribute to an incredibly popular entertainer and much missed colleague, friend and family member to so many left behind.”

Mr De Vere died in hospital after receiving six days of medical treatment on an intensive care ward after developing pneumonia.

His last performance was in pantomime in Blackpool over Christmas when he starred in Peter Pan.

His father Chris Holt said the family are likely to organise a private family service to take place in May.

Anyone with footage or photographs they wish to display are encouraged to get in touch with Viva director Mr Heywood on martin@vivablackpool.com.

Former cast members and colleagues who wish to speak are also encouraged to get in touch and confirm their attendance with Mr Heywood.