UPDATE: Christmas lights snub for Wizard Man

Now you see him: Conrad Pugsley, aka Wizard Man, was replaced by a decoy wizard

Sutton's stand-in wizard at the lights switch on

Sutton's stand-in wizard on stage at the lights switch on

First published in Where I Live by

Campaigners are demanding a public apology after the Wizard Man of Sutton was prevented from turning on the Christmas lights in the town centre.

Sutton Council confirmed on Tuesday that Conrad Pugsley, 58, would be “cheerfully welcomed” on to stage by organisers Asda.

But thousands of residents were left disappointed last night as the dragon master watched from the sidelines while a costumed impostor stole the limelight.

This afternoon Mr Pugsley said Sutton police had initially intervened because of threats from animal rights protesters.

He said: "I feel the organisers have let the people of Sutton down.

"This is not what they wanted and the false wizard just gave a silly impression of what people think wizards should look like.

"He was wearing completely the wrong clothes, when I have a hooded robe and skull cap."

Mr Pugsley said he had been instructed to take home his pets at 4pm, before being ignored on his return two hours later.

He added: "I was waiting in the wings while the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon character was on stage but the signal to go on never came.

"I would only impose myself on stage if I thought people were in danger.

"I was going to give the ceremony a special blessing to thank everyone for helping to find my cat Zagan.

Members of the social networking site Facebook are now seeking a full explanation for the humiliating vanishing act.

They particularly want to know why a “fake Wizard Man” was invited to join SpongeBob SquarePants, the Nickelodeon character, for the switch-on ceremony.

A campaign spokesman said: “The people of Sutton, Conrad Pugsley, the members of the Wizard Man campaign group and all visitors to the Sutton lights switch-on were fooled into believing Conrad was going to be involved in the ceremony.

“Wizard man was even risk-assessed by the council and police and deemed okay.

"We are outraged that the lovely Conrad Pugsley could be humiliated in front of many hundreds of people, and that some made wasted trips of many miles.”

Sutton police said it had been agreed beforehand that the pagan chief priest could appear without his pets.

A spokesman added: "Police were concerned that his animals could be frightened by the loud noise and music on the stage.

"At no time did Sutton police stop ‘Wizard Man’ taking to the stage."

The local authority said an estimated 8,000 residents, shoppers and children enjoyed festive entertainment at three stages along the high street. No incidents were reported to police.

  • Anyone who knows the stand-in wizard, is asked to call the news desk on 020 8330 9544.

Comments (12)

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10:41am Fri 28 Nov 08

I hope not says...

Although I didn't and wouldn't wish any harm on the 'wizard man' - I am very sorry to hear that there were people out there that did. The Police obviously took the threats very seriously and I am glad he was protected from any harm. I have my own views regarding him, but would certainly never wish any harm to come to him and am appalled that some people did.
Although I didn't and wouldn't wish any harm on the 'wizard man' - I am very sorry to hear that there were people out there that did. The Police obviously took the threats very seriously and I am glad he was protected from any harm. I have my own views regarding him, but would certainly never wish any harm to come to him and am appalled that some people did. I hope not
  • Score: 0

11:30am Fri 28 Nov 08

Evelina says...

Gosh... this is really very sad... I'm so gutted that there are people out there who want ruin everything... why do people have to be so angry all the time? Wizard Man - if you're reading this: I hope you know that even though there were a few out there who want to make things difficult for you - there are many more out there who are supporting you. Maybe you could do the Croydon lights??? All the best xx
Gosh... this is really very sad... I'm so gutted that there are people out there who want ruin everything... why do people have to be so angry all the time? Wizard Man - if you're reading this: I hope you know that even though there were a few out there who want to make things difficult for you - there are many more out there who are supporting you. Maybe you could do the Croydon lights??? All the best xx Evelina
  • Score: 0

11:49am Fri 28 Nov 08

ohdearyme says...

Such a shame!
Such a shame! ohdearyme
  • Score: 0

2:56pm Fri 28 Nov 08

adrianshort says...

A very sad turn of events. While I wasn't in favour of Mr Pugsley's appearance, it's clearly wrong for the organisers to break their promise to him. He's due an apology.

Nonetheless, I'm intrigued by Mr Pugsley's comments regarding the "false wizard". I had been led to believe that wizarding was all about doing your own thing, not conforming and being a free spirit.

For all Mr Pugsley knows, the other wizard is just as valid a dragon master as he. Who is he to judge? Is there a set of rules on what a wizard should wear and believe? Who wrote them and who enforces them? Is there an Office of Wizardry Standards to which one can complain?

If there really are standards in these matters then I want to see Mr Pugsley's credentials. For all we know, he's the fake wizard.

The borough demands answers.
A very sad turn of events. While I wasn't in favour of Mr Pugsley's appearance, it's clearly wrong for the organisers to break their promise to him. He's due an apology. Nonetheless, I'm intrigued by Mr Pugsley's comments regarding the "false wizard". I had been led to believe that wizarding was all about doing your own thing, not conforming and being a free spirit. For all Mr Pugsley knows, the other wizard is just as valid a dragon master as he. Who is he to judge? Is there a set of rules on what a wizard should wear and believe? Who wrote them and who enforces them? Is there an Office of Wizardry Standards to which one can complain? If there really are standards in these matters then I want to see Mr Pugsley's credentials. For all we know, he's the fake wizard. The borough demands answers. adrianshort
  • Score: 0

3:19pm Fri 28 Nov 08

remba says...

Brian Blessed is turning on the Croydon Christmas lights in full Captain Hook getup..

Now that's worth seeing!
Brian Blessed is turning on the Croydon Christmas lights in full Captain Hook getup.. Now that's worth seeing! remba
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Fri 28 Nov 08

punkbitch says...

yeh i saw conrad last night and he was quite upset, he felt he had let down the people who had come specifically to see him, no official made any attempt to acknowledge him and invite to the stage!lots of people were there speaking with conrad after the event and they said they were disappointed, and people wrent actually taking much notice of spongebob and the cartoon wizard, they were too interested in conrad!
yeh i saw conrad last night and he was quite upset, he felt he had let down the people who had come specifically to see him, no official made any attempt to acknowledge him and invite to the stage!lots of people were there speaking with conrad after the event and they said they were disappointed, and people wrent actually taking much notice of spongebob and the cartoon wizard, they were too interested in conrad! punkbitch
  • Score: 0

4:56pm Fri 28 Nov 08

FairyKookie says...

Thats awful! The poor guy! How pathetic can people get! Honestly.
Thats awful! The poor guy! How pathetic can people get! Honestly. FairyKookie
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Fri 28 Nov 08

jjsmithy says...

o my god, how sad are animal rights people, get a life!!!!

I've never seen this Wizard but ive seen how many fans he has on his facebook page and he's obv loved by alot of people. and him turning on the lights in sutton would of been good as he's sorta turned into the Mascot of Sutton and its an insult to everyone in Sutton having an idiot go on stage trying to look like him.
o my god, how sad are animal rights people, get a life!!!! I've never seen this Wizard but ive seen how many fans he has on his facebook page and he's obv loved by alot of people. and him turning on the lights in sutton would of been good as he's sorta turned into the Mascot of Sutton and its an insult to everyone in Sutton having an idiot go on stage trying to look like him. jjsmithy
  • Score: 0

11:53pm Fri 28 Nov 08

jessieb says...

I think its just so sad, and I know everyone feels very let down. it has cast a shadow over what otherwise would have been a succesful evening. I think the organisers handled it very badly and Conrad should have been informed of the situation. Any complaints over the handling of the evening should be sent to ASDA. I think Conrad and his supporters are owed an apology.
I think its just so sad, and I know everyone feels very let down. it has cast a shadow over what otherwise would have been a succesful evening. I think the organisers handled it very badly and Conrad should have been informed of the situation. Any complaints over the handling of the evening should be sent to ASDA. I think Conrad and his supporters are owed an apology. jessieb
  • Score: 0

11:59am Sat 29 Nov 08

suttoninsider says...

The "fake wizard" on stage was not an imposter or "decoy" at all, he was a character from the current production of The Sorceror's apprentice playing at the Secombe, and was always intended to be on stage for the switch-on alongside the other characters. As it turned out, a fault with the lighting system meant the ASDA snowflake lights didn't actually come on after the countdown as was planned, so even if he had been on stage the same people shouting about his non-appearance now would have been shouting about the fact that no lights had come on and his moment had been ruined.
The "fake wizard" on stage was not an imposter or "decoy" at all, he was a character from the current production of The Sorceror's apprentice playing at the Secombe, and was always intended to be on stage for the switch-on alongside the other characters. As it turned out, a fault with the lighting system meant the ASDA snowflake lights didn't actually come on after the countdown as was planned, so even if he had been on stage the same people shouting about his non-appearance now would have been shouting about the fact that no lights had come on and his moment had been ruined. suttoninsider
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Tue 2 Dec 08

I hope not says...

It sounds like the organisers of the Facebook campaign and this man need to get their facts straight.

He was protected from harm and he was told, quite rightly, that his animals should be at home - can you imagine the undue stress they would have been put under had they appeared and all for what ? How would you 'campaigners' have felt if he had gone on stage and been attacked ? - Sick to the stomach I expect.
Yet he feels humiliated and his campaigners want an apology - for what ? Protecting him ?? How ridiculous.
He is mistaken in his comments about a 'fake wizard' (talk about pot and kettle) - and had he asked who they were, or what they were doing there, then he would have been told. At least the actor was there to promote our local theatre what is wrong with that exactly ?
If Mr 'wizard man' feels let down, then the people that put him up on a pedestal in the first place, need to blame themselves for doing it.

Oh and all those who say how good he is with his animals, obviously didn't see him shouting his head off at the cat and dog outside Cafe Nero yesterday afternoon. Great example.
It sounds like the organisers of the Facebook campaign and this man need to get their facts straight. He was protected from harm and he was told, quite rightly, that his animals should be at home - can you imagine the undue stress they would have been put under had they appeared and all for what ? How would you 'campaigners' have felt if he had gone on stage and been attacked ? - Sick to the stomach I expect. Yet he feels humiliated and his campaigners want an apology - for what ? Protecting him ?? How ridiculous. He is mistaken in his comments about a 'fake wizard' (talk about pot and kettle) - and had he asked who they were, or what they were doing there, then he would have been told. At least the actor was there to promote our local theatre what is wrong with that exactly ? If Mr 'wizard man' feels let down, then the people that put him up on a pedestal in the first place, need to blame themselves for doing it. Oh and all those who say how good he is with his animals, obviously didn't see him shouting his head off at the cat and dog outside Cafe Nero yesterday afternoon. Great example. I hope not
  • Score: 0

10:59am Fri 5 Dec 08

suzette smith says...

I would just like to say that why everyone seems to see this wizard man as a local hero, my self and my daughter have to cross over the road every time we see him as she is still petrified of him as one day on our way to school his dog bit my little girl, he pulled the dog off her then continued his journey whilst my little girl was left screaming and i was in a total panick seeing boold coming threw her sock i shouted out to him and he just kept on going. thankfully some nieghbours came out off there homes to help me and she need to have her leg treated along with a tetnus jab the ploice were called in and after speaking to the so called wizzard he promised he would keep the dog muzzled and i felt i was persuaded not to persue mstters further. since then the dog never wears a muzzle and quite often runs around sutton high streat with no lead. now every one feels the wizzard man is owed an appollergy for not being able to switch on christmas lights yet he couldnt even appollergise when his dog bit my little girl. so in my eyes not such a local hero more like a coward and an un caring person comes to mind.
I would just like to say that why everyone seems to see this wizard man as a local hero, my self and my daughter have to cross over the road every time we see him as she is still petrified of him as one day on our way to school his dog bit my little girl, he pulled the dog off her then continued his journey whilst my little girl was left screaming and i was in a total panick seeing boold coming threw her sock i shouted out to him and he just kept on going. thankfully some nieghbours came out off there homes to help me and she need to have her leg treated along with a tetnus jab the ploice were called in and after speaking to the so called wizzard he promised he would keep the dog muzzled and i felt i was persuaded not to persue mstters further. since then the dog never wears a muzzle and quite often runs around sutton high streat with no lead. now every one feels the wizzard man is owed an appollergy for not being able to switch on christmas lights yet he couldnt even appollergise when his dog bit my little girl. so in my eyes not such a local hero more like a coward and an un caring person comes to mind. suzette smith
  • Score: 0
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