Kids' entertainer accused of 'stealing children's happiness' over string of birthday no-shows
24 April 2019, 12:19 | Updated: 24 April 2019, 12:20
A number of parents have hit out at 'Magic Mike' - claiming he ruined their kids' birthday parties by failing to show up, despite being booked
A kids' entertainer who has repeatedly failed to show up to birthday parties - despite being booked and paid - has been accused of 'stealing children's happiness'.
Michael Cooley, 36, who works under the stage name Magic Mike, has reportedly been failing to turn up to parties in his base in Surrey since 2015 - leaving a number of children broken-hearted.
Furious parents have claimed that he even blocked their numbers to evade their angry calls when he didn't show up.
Janie Salter, a mum-of-two, hired Cooley earlier this month for her daughter Lexi's birthday - but he failed to show up despite confirming the booking a number of times before.
The party was left with a hall with no entertainment, and Janie was in tears after being asked by Lexi repeatedly 'when is the Magic man coming?'.
Another mum, Katie Barker, booked Magic Mike for her son Mitchell's third birthday in 2015 - and sought him out especially because his tricks are suitable for disabled children.
However, she claims that he texted her on the morning of the party saying that he had double-booked and would be unable to attend.
Magic Mike has responded to the allegations and said 'we all make mistakes'.
Janie, from Chertsey, Surrey, said: "It's like he's stealing children's happiness. Birthday parties are supposed to be happy.
"Every day since her party she says to me 'when is my birthday? When can I have my party? When is Magic Man coming?'
"She gets really distressed. Unfortunately I think she will remember that day forever.
"There were 30 children let down on that day. It was the first birthday party Lexi has had as she's only just able to understand [what they are].
"Lexi has global development delay and is being tested for autism. She doesn't have a great understanding anyway.
"We literally had nothing else in place - just a hall. We had no party games, no prizes.
"I spent most of [the party] in the kitchen crying."
Janie claims that she found Magic Mike through Facebook, and that he was offering a £99 deal for one hour of magic and one hour of disco. She says that she gave him a £50 deposit that she never got back.
She continued:"He just asked where it was and two weeks later I messaged him confirming the venue and he said that was fine.
"I messaged him again in December, January and March confirming the date and time, [which he confirmed]. I'd told him to arrive at 12pm.
"On the day, I went to the venue with my two children, two friends with their children and some family.
"It got to 12pm and I thought 'he's not here'. I was panicking.
"By 12.15pm, my friend called him and it just kept ringing. She left a voicemail.
"At 12.20pm he still hadn't arrived. We tried once more and his phone was switched off.
"When we called from my husband's phone it rang, but when he called back that was also blocked.
"All they could do was run around the hall playing - that's all.
"Luckily my aunt is a teaching assistant and had a parachute in her car, so we played some games with that.
"My mum ran home because she lived 10 minutes away and got a DVD player.
"We put a Mr Tumble CD in there and my husband Kris ran to the shop to get sweets for prizes.
"But if we hadn't booked him as the entertainer, we wouldn't have hired a hall. We would have done it at home."
Katie Barker has a similar story. She said that she had specifically researched a suitable entertainer for her disabled son, but that Magic Mike let her down by text on the day.
She said: "He shouldn't be trading. He's been doing it for years to so many people.
"He seems to still be getting away with it though.
"My little boy is now seven. This was his third birthday
"He is disabled so birthday parties aren't a thing for us, but he'd just started a new school so we decided to book something.
"I booked this guy in the January  and luckily he didn't take any money from me, but I confirmed it all absolutely fine.
"I messaged him the day before in the March and he ignored me. He'd been booked for months.
"On the day of Mitchell's birthday he just said 'no, I'm not coming.'
"I had to make sure I hired a hall and entertainer that were suitable because there were a couple of kids coming in wheelchairs. He was the only thing that was appropriate.
"Most kids can have DJs and lights and I couldn't do that because my little boy isn't good with loud noises. He did magic tricks and stuff.
"Luckily I've got lots of friends who managed to get me something for the day - a guy who came from Guildford and cost me an arm and a leg."
When approached for comment, Mike said: Michael said: "Unfortunately I have some personal issues with family and I have done lots of shows where I have 5* reviews where me not turn up is due to no booking with myself.
"I will be still offering my service and having a better booking system in place.
"Unfortunately I have dealt with these cases on a one to one [basis] and [to] bring up the past from 2015 is not right."