Only Fools and Horses fan meets his icon in very bizarre twist of fate

Ben Stokes, 27, of Birchington works for UK Power Networks, but also enjoys a hobby of painting celebrity portraits and had been working on the character ‘Derek “Del Boy” Trotter’ since the beginning of February.

Mr Stokes received a message from his cousin saying she had seen the actor alongside John Challis, who played ‘Boycie’ in the British sitcom, at Margate beach.

Ben explained: “I got home from work and went down there with my dad. We were lucky enough to catch David walking along Margate beach – I had only finished the painting of him that day.

“He was there with Boycie (John Challis) and David said they were filming for a documentary series about Only Fools and Horses.”

It is thought the two comedy acting legends were on set in Margate, to reminisce about the show’s 1989 Christmas special ‘The Jolly Boys’ Outing’, which was filmed in various locations around the town.

The 77-year-old comedian made his way into the Marine Sands Family Restaurant in Marine Drive, where he also invited Mr Stokes to have a chat before signing the artwork and posing for photos, much to 27-year-old Ben’s delight.

Sir David signs the portrait of De Boy for fan, Ben | Image: Ben Stokes
Sir David signs the portrait of De Boy for fan, Ben | Image: Ben Stokes

Ben added: “David was great and asked me how long it took to paint. He was very chatty, shook my hand and also asked me who else I’ve painted.

“He’s one of the most iconic characters on TV – Only Fools and Horses has to be one of my favourites. You can watch the same episode over and over again but still find it funny.

“It’s nice to be recognised because I enjoy what I’m doing. People are commenting saying how good the work is and asking me to do a portrait for them, although it’s hard to find the time.”

The artist, who lives with his fiancée Emily and their 7-month old daughter, has painted a number of celebrities including UFC star Conor McGregor and boxers Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather.

The father is also a “die-hard” fan of Premier League football team Chelsea, and club captain John Terry liked and commented saying “great work” on Mr Stokes’ Instagram post displaying a portrait of the defender back in January.

h/t Kent Live