South Croydon residents packed into the Carlton Road Business Centre on Friday afternoon, for the arrival of international star Peter Andre and the opening a new kung fu school.
Andre is most famous for his 90s hit single “Mysterious Girl,” appearing on “I’m a Celebrity: Get me out of here!” and his most recent reality documentary show: “My Life.” On Friday, his appearance was part of his on-going involvement with the Croydon martial arts organisation, Kung Fu Schools.
After an official opening ceremony and kung fu demonstrations from both Andre and some of the local children; parents, students, and fans gathered for food and drink while waiting for the chance to meet the star himself.
Speaking to EastLondonLines, Andre said: “There should be hundreds of them around the country, because what they’re teaching kids is invaluable.”
“People think that self-defence means you have to fight; really self-defence, if you do it the right way…means you’ll never have to fight. It makes even more sense to talk yourself out of a situation because you’re confident enough to know what to do.”
According to Andre, the school’s slogan, “Say NO to bullies,” is an active response to “playground bullying,” social bullying and “cyber bullying” is an increasing problem in UK schools. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying and almost half of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.
Andre said: “Every town needs a school like this, for kids to get off the streets and focus on something which is going to benefit them”.
The Croydon School is one of five kung fu schools opened across England since 2009, which offer martial arts classes for adults and activities for children aged four to twelve.
Regarding Croydon, Andre said he was very familiar with the area since his late brother, Andrew Andre had lived there.
He said: “A lot of my friends live in Croydon,” the star added, “I’ve tried every jerk-chicken place you can think of! I’ve tried it in Croydon.”
Andre is currently living near Crawley, where he previously opened another Kung Fu School.
The Mayor of Crawley, Bob Burgess, and his wife, former mayor Brenda Burgess were also in attendance. The couple commented that the opening of the new school would hugely benefit the local community.
Bob Burgess said: “If it does half as much for Croydon as the one in Crawley does it will be a fantastic place for young people to come to learn discipline and how to respect other people.”
Regarding Andre, Burgess added: “Peter is doing it not just for his publicity, he is doing it because he passionately believes in these kung-fu schools and the benefits they bring for other people.”