Beckham lights up MBS yuletide event, brings joy to children

A two-storeyed Christmas tree towers over 14 others at the skating rink at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), adorned brightly with red and yellow balls of various sizes.

It was a warm and cozy scene, in stark contrast to the gloom and rain outside yesterday evening.

There was a missing piece to that Christmas setting, though - the star atop the tallest tree was dark, unlit like the skies above.

In stepped former England football captain David Beckham, who was invited by MBS to launch its Christmas light-up.

Despite retiring last year, the 39-year-old still packs plenty of star power, with more than 1,000 onlookers crowding around and above the skating rink at the Shoppes from 6pm to catch a glimpse of the former star of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy and Paris Saint-Germain.

The giant screen above the rink was still showing highlights of Beckham's 21-year career, when screams and camera flashes paved the way for the football icon, bearded and dapper in a dark grey suit.

He said that Christmas was his favourite holiday, and added: "I feel very privileged and fortunate that I can give back during the Christmas period, that with my past career, I can help people buy a little bit of happiness during this season."

He certainly brought a lot of joy to a pair of Caucasian teenagers on the second floor, who looked on as Beckham, a young girl and MBS chief executive officer and president George Tanasijevich officially lit the integrated resort's Christmas lights.

One of the two girls exclaimed: "He is so beautiful and sexy. If I were the little girl (on stage), I would just faint."

Other than still making young girls go weak in their knees, Beckham also brought joy to some 200 beneficiaries from the Association for Persons with Special Needs, Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centres and Student Care Services in an event yesterday afternoon.

MBS staff donated over 1,500 gifts to these beneficiaries, aged between three and 18.

Said a grinning Rachel Nair, who received a "very heavy present": "When my teacher said the world's best footballer was going to make an appearance today, I immediately guessed that it was David Beckham. My friends and I were so happy that we screamed when he appeared!"


The 1.83m-tall father of four spent some time in a question-and-answer session with the children, before posing for a group photo.

Shawn Ng was among the 1,100 MBS staff who contributed gifts in this year's event.

"It's my first time doing something like this and it's touching to see them so happy and excited to receive gifts," said the associate director of hotel operations, who bought a brand new school bag.

Rachel hadn't unwrapped her present when she arrived at the skating rink, but was thankful to MBS for the gift, and for the opportunity to meet her idol.

The Man United fan said: "Best Christmas ever."

This article was first published on November 16, 2014.
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