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P. Diddy lends hand at Finsbury adventure playground

PUBLISHED: 15:01 12 July 2011

P. Diddy meets volunteers Josh Hanson (right) and Raphael Joseph-Ellington

P. Diddy meets volunteers Josh Hanson (right) and Raphael Joseph-Ellington

Archant

Rap megastar P. Diddy caused a stir this week when he arrived in Finsbury to help volunteers spruce up an adventure playground.

The music mogul formerly known as Puff Daddy made a surprise visit to Toffee Park Adventure Playground in Ironmonger Row, Finsbury, on Monday (July 12) – leaving dozens of helpers star struck.

One lucky fan had been listening to the rapper’s work earlier that day – but he had no idea he would come face to face with his idol just hours later.

Josh Hanson, 15, of Hornsey Lane, Archway, said: “I was listening to him that day! I was surprised by how friendly he was. He just put his hand out to me and shook my hand, and asked how I was. He didn’t let anyone down.”

The volunteers had been helping to fix up the place by tidying, painting murals and building an “urban beach” complete with sand and deck chairs.

P. Diddy, real name Sean Combs, briefly took up a paintbrush to join in with their efforts – but took care not to get any specks on his smart all-black outfit.

Samadul Haque, 30, deputy play manager at Toffee Park, said: “A lot of people were star struck – they didn’t know who was coming so they were really amazed.

“Some of them spoke to him and shook his hand – and he pretended to do some painting in his black suit! It’s a proud moment for the project.”

Toffee Park runs free after school and holiday clubs for Finsbury children aged to six to 13.

Most of the volunteers were there because of Orange RockCorps, which sees people give up four hours of their time in return for a concert ticket, while Josh was among a group from the Spectrum alternative learning project at the nearby EC1 Music Project in Old Street.

P. Diddy, who appeared as one half of the duo Diddy Dirty Money, alongside singer Dawn Richard, said: “Rewarding people for their hard work in the community is a great chance to connect with great people, doing great things to enrich the lives of others.”

The volunteers were rewarded with tickets to Wembley, where they saw the Diddy Dirty Money perform alongside rock legends Primal Scream and chart stars Jessie J and Eliza Doolittle at Wembley on Tuesday night.

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