Olympic champion Peter Wilson shoots to thrill at Tempus Holland and Holland event
Lucas di Grassi, Anthea Turner and Luke Pasqualino were among the star guests at Tempus's clay pigeon shoot
Olympic gold-medallist Peter Wilson showed he is firmly on target for Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday evening, when he wowed celebrity guests including 2017 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi, presenter Anthea Turner, and Snatch stars Luke Pasqualino and Tamer Hassan with a display of shooting skill at Tempus’s clay pigeon event at Holland and Holland.
“Everyone was able to experience shooting and how much fun it can be, and so I was pleased to perform the balloon demonstration afterwards. By then, everyone really understood what goes into shooting, so I hope it was even more fun to watch,” Peter told Tempus after wowing audiences by taking aim at loose balloons and bursting them with a series of trick shots. “One balloon actually went a little further than I realised, and I did have a moment of panic that I wouldn’t be able to hit it – I knew that one I had to get! You could hear the delay before the shot reached the balloon.”
Of his Tokyo Olympic ambitions, Peter said: “I always said that once I retired, I would stay retired. But now my discipline [double trap] has been removed from the Games, it’s really exciting to be going for the Olympic Trap. There are a lot of differences between the two disciplines, and I’m having a great time training. For those of us in such a niche sport, the Olympics really are the only goal. You eat, sleep and breathe your discipline, and then when you succeed it can be difficult to think ‘okay, what’s next?’”
Among the guests, shooting novices Luke and Tamer were eager to pull the trigger at the summer evening clay pigeon shoot in the renowned shooting grounds in Northwood, and although neither actor managed to match Peter’s predictably perfect score they did take the chance to use Holland and Holland’s Olympic-standard shotguns – each worth £196,000 – and help the event raise money for military charities Help for Heroes and the PWRR Benevolent Fund.
“My parents have a bit of land where I grew up, and as a child I was always playing with bb guns and air rifles, shooting tin cans off walls, that sort of thing. But that’s nothing as real as this,” said Luke, who made his name on Skins before swashbuckling series Musketeers. “I’ve never had moving targets to hit, so it was recently exciting.”
Close friend and co-star Tamer had never tried clay pigeon shooting before, and delighted in the atmosphere of the day. “We did well I think, for first timers. I really like the etiquette and ceremony of it all,” he said. “And it was great to raise money for veterans. Somebody that’s willing to risk their life for our way of living, for our country… honestly I don’t think we can ever do enough for them. I bow down to them.”
“I’ve worked with Help for Heroes before, and it’s always great to give something back to the people who risk so much for us,” Luke said of the charities chosen. Help For Heroes is dedicated to providing support for injured servicemen and women, while the PWRR Benevolent Fund supports members of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and their family members. He continued: “The show I’ve recently finished, Our Girl, is all based within the British Army and just listening to some of the military advisors that we had, you can’t quite comprehend being in that situation.”
After this authentic taste of the Games, Peter demonstrated his record-breaking abilities by bursting far-floating balloons – shooting from the shoulder, hip, around his back and even between his legs. Soon after, a chance to fire the ground’s 200-year-old cannon resulted in a fast-paced auction. The 50 guests were then entertained by singer Noah Francis Johnson, who performed his new single with a guitar accompaniment from John King.
Anthea was deep in conversation with artist Bran Symondson, whose butterfly-covered rifle sculpture took centre stage in the dining room, before taking to the stage to present the exclusive raffle prizes – an Aston Martin factory tour, a Land Rover off-roading experience and lunch at the Luton Hoo estate, or a Crème de le Mer facial treatment (won by Tamir, best known for his tough guy roles).
“I was almost tempted to cheat on the raffle – I would have loved to win the factory tour. But lucky number 13 came up,” said Anthea. “We were so lucky with the weather and setting. The sunset over the grounds was just phenomenal.”
A three-course dinner was later served featuring crayfish and avocado Tian followed by lamb cutlets with Lyonnaise potatoes and a mixed berry terrine for dessert. A Difference coffee selection and Davidoff cigar and whisky tasting experience rounded off the evening before carriages.