HE has entertained thousands of ill children for 20 years but Simon Cruden says he wants to continue performing magic tricks and jokes for many more to come.

"It's certainly something I'll never give up," the 36-year-old volunteer told the Oxford Mail.

"I do it for what the hospital did for me. They saved my life."

Mr Cruden knows first-hand what it is like for youngsters at Oxford Children's Hospital with him undergoing four operations between the ages of 12 to 16 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Surgeons placed a shunt to take fluid from his head into his stomach.

Mr Curden lost his his sight and is registered as blind but went on to cheer up thousands of children through his ability to coax of giggles out of even the most poorly youngsters.

The magician and balloonist, which some would say resembles real-life Patch Adams without the medical degree, said being treated at the John Radcliffe site made it easy to relate to what patients were going through.

The Oxford Road, Kidlington, resident added: "Magic tricks are something I have always done.

"It's about the fun, I have a lot of fun, but the point of me being there is for the children to have a lot of fun. It's for the youngsters."

His trademark stunts include magical card tricks, but Mr Cruden says he is always looking for ways and ideas to expand his magic.

He is also a balloonist and visits the hospital at least twice a week, where he tries to see every child in every ward.

And it's not just he the kids who are entertained, he often gets parents and carers in on his acts.

He added: "It's a bit mad isn't it. I wear yellow trousers and what I try to get is smiles and fun.

"I'm very lucky I'm here. I'm there for what the hospital did for me.

Oxford Children's Hospital spokesman Joe Baker said: "'We are extremely proud and thankful to Simon for what is an incredible achievement and for supporting our very special hospital. Over the few years I have worked for the charity, I have heard many wonderful stories about the joy he has brought to our young patients and their families and we are incredibly grateful.

"It makes this occasion even more special as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the children's hospital, and we look forward to celebrating many more milestones with Simon and our other wonderful volunteers."

Mr Cruden is a trustee at Oxfordshire Association for the Blind and carried the Olympic Torch as it passed through Oxfordshire ahead of the 2012 London games.

The hospital is attempting to raise £2million, to donate visit: ouh.nhs.uk/charity/what-we-do/chox/default.aspx