Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield mayor Magid Magid uses 'magician' at council meeting

There was no sleight-of-hand with the new Sheffield mayor when he brought in a "magician" to entertain councillors.

Magid Magid, 28, made the unusual move at a tense council meeting to bring in a scientist who performed tricks.

It came during a break in a volatile debate about four people currently in court over the long-running protests about tree-felling in the city.

Mr Magid also bucked trends by wearing a black T-shirt and tartan beret instead of more usual mayoral garb.

Four people are before the High Court in Sheffield as a long-running dispute over the felling of trees across the city continues.

Before the break, council Leader Julie Dore had faced a barrage of questions from the Lib Dems and Greens about the legal case involving the protesters.

Water over head

Cabinet member Lewis Dagnall was also repeatedly asked about his briefings with officers on the court proceedings.

After an intense start to the council meeting, proceedings suddenly took a different turn, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

During a 10-minute break, Mr Magid introduced scientist Hassun El Zafar who, wearing a white coat, moved around the chamber performing magic tricks.

Lord Paul Scriven became a "volunteer" and was placed in a seat while Hassun tipped a glass of water over his head, but a piece of cardboard and the law of physics kept him dry.

Hassun then urged people to take cover as councillor Alison Teal pumped a toy rocket - which hit the desk where the media normally sit.

Mayor Magid said: "It is a great way to really showcase the amazing wealth of creativity we have in Sheffield.

"Hassun Al-Zafaar delivered a hilarious, educational interesting performance which everyone enjoyed. Even if some councillors got wet in the process."

Mr Magid, is the city's first Somali mayor, first Green Party mayor, and, at 28, the city's youngest.

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Media captionMagid Magid: From Ethiopian refugee camp to Sheffield Lord Mayor

He came to Sheffield aged five after six months in an Ethiopian refugee camp with his mother and five siblings who left Somalia "to find a better life".

He was a contestant on Channel 4's reality show Hunted that was broadcast in February.

The row over tree-felling centres on the council's claims says only street trees that are diseased, damaged or dangerous are being removed.

But protesters say many are felled because their roots are simply in the way of road-resurfacing work.

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