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Darth Vader takes a break from the dark side to join Send a Smile with Santa campaign

PUBLISHED: 14:51 02 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:05 02 December 2017

Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

One of the cinema world’s most instantly recognisable characters made an appearance at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Friday as part of the Send a Smile with Santa donation campaign.

Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But instead on wanting to conquer worlds, Darth Vader, also known as the Dark Lord, went to put a smile on children’s faces.

In the company of a storm trooper bodyguard, Vader met hospital officials and Mark Dean of Nor-Con, the Norfolk TV, Film and Comic Convention.

Mr Dean said: “We recently did some work with the East Anglian Star Wars Club and to thank them for their help we offered to make a donation to a charity of their choice.

“They asked us to donate vouchers that will go to teenagers spending Christmas in hospital so we handed over 40 £5 Argos vouchers to them on Friday at the hospital.”

Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Mark Dean of NorCon, hands over donated Christmas presents for children patients to Lucy Weavers, divisional nurse director for children and young people's services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital under the watchful eyes of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from the East Anglian Star Wars Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Huw Jones of the East Anglian Star Wars Club, who plays Vader, said everything they did was for charity.

“We don’t take any money for ourselves, we do it purely to put a smile on kids faces.”

He said members of the club would return to the hospital on December 22 to hand out Star Wars related gifts.

NNUH Divisional Nursing Director Lucy Weavers said Christmas was not the easiest time to be in hospital.

She said: “We’d like to give all our patients a gift over Christmas but we need the support of local charities to do so.”

As part of the Send a Smile with Santa campaign, the hospital is appealing for unwrapped gift donations.

These can be placed at various drop off stations including at each main entrance to the hospital as well as at the Archant office in Norwich.

Suggested gifts for adult patients include items such as hand, foot or other moisturising lotions, hand wipes, perfumes and colognes, bubble bath, chocolates, biscuits, sweets, cereal bars, stationary, hats and scarves, books and magazines and puzzles.

Ideas for babies, children and teenagers include rattles and teething toys, lego sets, colouring books, any Norwich city football gear, wallets and purses and age appropriate books.

To prevent infection, only new items in their original packaging and unwrapped can be accepted.

All purchased food products must be in a sealed package and still in date for December 25.

Donation stations

Local residents, businesses and organisations are all urged to donate presents for patients who will be too poorly to leave hospital and celebrate Christmas at home with their loved ones.

All gifts should be donated unwrapped or placed in a gift bag.

This is to ensure the products are safe and appropriate before they are wrapped and passed on to the wards.

Donation stations include: All NNUH main receptions, Archant building on Rouen Road, Norwich train station, Norwich Castle Mall and Roys of Wroxham.

The following Natwest branches are also accepting: Norwich Gentleman’s Walk, Norwich Boundary Road, Lowestoft, Diss, Beccles, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, North Walsham, Cromer, Holt, Fakenham, East Dereham, Wymondham, Thetford and Branch Nelson (mobile),

Edible homemade gifts such as cakes and sweets, electrical items, and denominational or religious material cannot be accepted.

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