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Luke Wigman

On set with Tom Hardy and a morning at Buckingham Palace: Invictus Games 2016

Had a crazy few days! From being on a film set with Tom Hardy, to spending a morning down at Buckingham Palace chatting with Prince Harry, for the official Invictus Games 2016 team announcement. Oh and how could I forget, chatting with Nick Knowles himself!

I was at work on Sunday night, dreading the drive to London in the early hours on Monday morning, mainly due to the sleep deprivation attached to working these shifts! I finished work at 07:00 and was on route down south shortly after. I was heading to a secret location to meet a certain Tom Hardy and to watch some of the filming taking part throughout the day for his up and coming mini series. Check out the trailer [here].

It was a great day, and it was incredible to see how much work goes into such a short scene! It was such a surreal experience having Tom walk out to introduce himself in such a casual manner; I found myself lost for words, which doesn’t happen all that often.

After 33 hours of being awake, I was left in desperate need of sleep, especially with the schedule planned for the following two days. I made my way over to Wellington Barracks on Tuesday, located next to Buckingham Palace, to receive all the Invictus Games team kit. It started to make the whole experience feel all the more real. After being given a hold-all full of GB kit, and rehearsing the team announcement stuff, I headed back to the hotel ready for the usual Tuesday track session.

Did I mention I was staying at The Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair? It was kindly donated by them and at £500 per night for a basic room, it was certainly one of the top hotels I’ve stayed at. I pulled up outside the hotel in my 14 year old Vauxhall Vectra, which has racked up a respectable 160,000 miles. It suddenly looked incredibly out of place. After removing banana peels and sweaty running shorts from the passenger seat, I had to hand the key over to allow them to park it up for me! I was parked, untidily may I add, next to a row of Aston Martins to the left, and a new Ferrari and Lamborghini to the right. I joked it off with an encouraging “good luck”.

Wednesday was the date for the official Invictus Games 2016 team announcement, which was done by HRH Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace. It was surreal to be on the other side of the gates! As we all smartly lined up on the podium, ready for the team photo, with all the press and cameras pointing at us, Prince Harry emerged. I’ve met Harry now on numerous occasions, and yet struggle to get my head around the situation every time. It only took a minute before the banter was flowing between the team and Prince Harry. It didn’t take long before the ‘red head’ jokes were being shouted out, referring to the Prince as Ed Sheeran. As the team stood proudly on the podium, cameras flashing, it was now official, the public knew of the Great British Invictus team, and the excitement of what’s to come was evident on each and every one of our faces. Roll on Orlando.

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