Our adventure started about a week or so after the Seni Exhibition. I received a frantic phone call from PSBN Alison on the Tuesday evening asking me if I wanted to go to the Beckham’s party on Sunday at their home in Hertfordshire.
Of course I didn’t believe her, I thought she must be pulling my leg ( as she often does! ). Finally she managed to convince me, and, after much screaming and running round the house in a manner reminiscent of a headless chicken, this is what happened.
The World Cup party had an oriental theme, so the party organisers had contacted the organiser of Seni to see if he could recommend some Ninja’s to perform in the woodlands for the guests to look at as they made their way to the marquee.
He told them “you don’t want Ninja’s, you want the Kuk Sool Won demo team!”. High praise indeed! So that’s how 15 members of the Seni demo team got to go to the Beckham’s party. We had been told not to tell anyone because of security reasons so there was a lot of suppressed excitement, but after a rollercoaster ride of a “would we, wouldn’t we” kind of week, Sunday finally arrived.
The coach picked us up in Halesworth and took us to Sawbridgeworth where we were given a security check and then taken by mini-bus to the Beckham estate. We were shown around the marquee, which was beautiful, and then through the woodlands to our positions.
David and Victoria walked past us at this point which was quite exciting! We then had about an hour and a half wait before the guests were due to arrive, so we had some lunch in the canteen backstage, where we saw Beverley Knight (who was performing later) and we met Victoria’s family, as well as Brooklyn.
Soon came the time for us to get into position ready for the guests to arrive. We were determined to put on a good show (although it was a bit difficult amid the nettles, rocks and trees), but the next 2 ½ hours seemed to fly by! Among the famous guests were: Elton John, Richard Branson, Natalie Imbruglia, Muhammed Al Fayed, Cilla Black, Dale Winton, Graham Norton, Ant & Dec, Joan Collins, Lulu, Jamie Oliver, Chris Eubank, Jennifer Saunders, Louise and Jamie Redknapp, Shaznay Lewis, Misteeq, Lee Evans, Gary Lineker, Des Lynham, Angus Deayton and a whole host of other celebrities and sportspersons including the England football team and some members of the 1966 team as well. We weren’t allowed to speak to the guests but most of them said hello and some of them made comments as they walked past. ITV filmed the occasion for a documentary which was shown the following week and OK and Hello magazines had joint coverage.
After the guests had finished arriving, we went backstage and had some more food and watched the Shaolin Monks arrive. They did a 10 minute performance and then left but we did get to speak to them briefly.
Earlier in the day we told Victoria’s mum that we would like to present David with an honorary black belt, so we were thrilled when we were told that we could all go on stage to present it to him! There was a lot of waiting around backstage listening to Graham Norton auction off a variety of different things (with all proceeds going to the NSPCC). Jamie Oliver and Mick Hucknall each paid £29,000 for a pair of David Beckhams football boots! Finally the moment came for us to go on stage, where KJN John Ives, SBN Martin Ducker and SBN John Gravenall presented David with his black belt. There’s a picture in OK Magazine to prove it!
Finally it was time for us to leave, and as we left the estate, there were about 300 people crowded at the gate cheering and waving as we drove past. We felt like royalty! It was quite exhilarating and very bizarre.
And so our exciting day at Beckingham Palace came to an end, but the excitement wasn’t quite over yet. The BBC heard about our little trip, and on the Tuesday they came to film us at the Halesworth Dojang. The report went out that evening on Look East which was great publicity for Kuk Sool Won. The following Sunday, the 19th of May, the documentary about the party was shown on ITV, and to our amazement, there were many clips of the Kuk Sool Won team shown, as well as a few comments made about us by some of the guests.
A fantastic time was had by all.
The members of the team were:
From Lowestoft and Halesworth: SBN Martin Ducker, PSBN Alison Ducker, KSN Rachel Ducker, KSN Jason Ducker, KSN Robert Poll, KSN Joanne Walker, KSN David Ellis, KSN Kris French, JKN Nigel Gosling.
From Norwich: KJN John Ives, KSN Jason Hawes, JKN Tracey Burton