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 September 18

by Carolina

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Seeing a celebrity unexpectedly can be one of life’s little pleasures.

Like the time David Beckham unexpectedly stopped in at Nandos in Walsgrave.

We’ve been through the Coventry Telegraph archives and found instances and photos of occasions when household names have stopped in to the Sky Blue city.

Read more: Assembly Festival Garden will return to Coventry once more

Back in the sixties just about every major star of the day appeared in the city but as time wore on, Coventry became less of a hotspot for visiting acts.

As the 20th century drew to a close and the new millennium started, stars coming to the area became less and less – to the point a superstar footballer grabbing some spicy chicken was a minor sensation.

David Beckham

David Beckham once went to Nandos in Coventry.

David Beckham once went to Nandos in Coventry.

So we’ll kick off with Goldenballs himself, David Beckham, who surprised diners at popular chicken joint Nandos at Cross Point Business Park in Walsgrave.

Becks stopped in at the restaurant in May 2011 for a spot of lunch – which apparently consisted of lemon and herb chicken pitta with chips and coleslaw – paid for by one of his friends.

Beckham, who at that point was still contracted to LA Galaxy, was apparently on his way from London to Manchester to take part in the testimonial match of pal Gary Neville.

Freddie Starr

Freddie Starr and his bride Sandy Morgan after their marriage at a Registry Office in Coventry. Pictured, Freddie jokingly confronts two traffic wardens, who, despite the fact that Freddie has been booked six times this week, were there to wish him well! April 1974.

Freddie Starr and his bride Sandy Morgan after their marriage at a Registry Office in Coventry. Pictured, Freddie jokingly confronts two traffic wardens, who, despite the fact that Freddie has been booked six times this week, were there to wish him well.

From a football star to Freddie Starr. The above image shows the comedian, who would later gain notoriety thanks to his alleged mistreatment of a hamster, outside Coventry Registry Office on his wedding day back in 1974.

The late comedian and actor married second wife Sandy Morgan within months of finalising his divorce with first wife Betty.

The happy couple were appearing in a show at Coventry Theatre at the time, and Starr apparently had an ongoing feud with the city’s parking attendants.

They decided on the day to play a prank on him by pretending to book him for parking his Rolls Royce on double yellow lines as he came out of the registry office with his bride – upon Starr’s realisation at the stunt, the above image was captured.

Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard pictured with pupils during a surprise visit to Binley Park School, Coventry. The star had been performing at the Coventry Theatre.

Cliff Richard pictured with pupils during a surprise visit to Binley Park School, Coventry. The star had been performing at the Coventry Theatre.

Musician, singer and every grandmothers favourite star Cliff Richard stopped in to surprise pupils at a local primary school during a stint performing at the Coventry Theatre back in November 1976.

Cliff was playing a two-night run in the city and popped into Binley Park School to sing gospel songs as part of a charity event.

The then 36-year-old said of the visit: “It’s frightening to think that I was singing before some of these kids were born.”

Peter Andre and Katie Price (aka Jordan)

Peter Andre and Jordan at the Coventry Christmas lights switch on in 2006.

Peter Andre and Jordan at the Coventry Christmas lights switch on in 2006.

The star-crossed lovers who met on I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out Of Here switching the Christmas lights on in Coventry. Suppose somebody had to do it.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali visits retired boxer Jack Bodell at his Fish and Chip Shop in Coventry.

Muhammad Ali visits retired boxer Jack Bodell at his Fish and Chip Shop in Coventry.

Muhammad Ali, the world’s greatest ever boxer, a man who transcended race, sport and nationality, popping into a chippy in Tile Hill will never not cease to amaze.

The world’s most famous boxer visited the Knockout Chip Shop on Jardine Crescent in 1983 as part of a tour of the Midlands.

As luck would have it, former British heavyweight champion Jack Bodell was opening a new venture in Coventry, and as a pal and former sparring partner of Ali’s it was arranged he would visit the chippy.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba, who was spotted by Trevor Brand at Coventry Airport

Idris Elba, who was spotted by Trevor Brand at Coventry Airport.

Luther, The Wire, The Office, The Avengers, and potentially even James Bond, they don’t come much more A lister than Idris Elba.

The London-born star swapped Beverley Hills for Baginton back in 2015 when he took part in filming for the Discovery Channel’s Airbase Gets Airborne show at Coventry Airport.

Luckily a local photographer named Clive Hanley captured some fantastic images and sent them to CoventryLive – see more here.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

In 1968 Beatles star was all about giving peace a chance – so much so he turned up in Coventry with new partner Yoko Ono to plant two acorn seeds at the cathedral.

Lennon said at the time: “We are planting these acorns as a symbol of the east and the west coming together, this is what happens when two clouds meet.”

However, the acorns eventually got nicked, and unfortunately the trees never grew. The image above is the brochure cover for “Planting Acorns at Coventry 1968”.

Yoko would return decades later to plant two oak trees near the same spot.

Paul McCartney

Clipping from the front page of the Coventry Evening Telegraph from February 1969

Clipping from the front page of the Coventry Evening Telegraph from February 1969

While we’re on the subject of Beatles, bass player Paul McCartney was fined during a flying visit through the city after he was spotted speeding on Fletchamstead Highway.

On Friday 7 February 1969 a front page headline from the Coventry Evening Telegraph blared: “Beatle fined £15 for car offences”.

Officers had pulled him over while he was driving his Aston Martin DB6 car through the city the previous July. Apparently he’d been doing nearly 60mph in a 40mph zone.

He said to have told officers: “It’s a fair cop. I thought I was doing just over 40.” He was also fined for not having a Road Fund licence for the vehicle, as it had expired a few months earlier.

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Original posted at www.coventrytelegraph.net

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