Force of friendship is strong between former foes at Norwich Science fiction convention

The fourth Norwich Sci Fi Club convention, NORCON IV. Star Wars' Princess Amidala, Daisy Draycott, 6, with R2D2. Picture: Denise Bradley The fourth Norwich Sci Fi Club convention, NORCON IV. Star Wars' Princess Amidala, Daisy Draycott, 6, with R2D2. Picture: Denise Bradley

Monday, September 9, 2013
9:52 AM

Bosses of a Norwich science fiction club which was involved in a bitter bust-up with a Star Wars group at a convention earlier this year showed the “force” of friendship was strong between them by inviting members of the once rival group to their annual fundraising celebration.

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The fourth Norwich Sci Fi Club convention, NORCON IV. Star Wars' R2D2 and C3PO. Picture: Denise BradleyThe fourth Norwich Sci Fi Club convention, NORCON IV. Star Wars' R2D2 and C3PO. Picture: Denise Bradley

Police were called to a convention at the University of East Anglia following an altercation which was sparked when members of the Norwich Sci-Fi club were refused entry to the event co-hosted by Norwich Star Wars Club.

The story made headlines across the world – resulting in the two clubs meeting to thrash out their differences with the new hope for peace having now been realised with the Sci-Fi club inviting members of the Star Wars group to yesterday’s NORCON IV event.

The convention is the Sci-Fi Club’s standout event of the year during which they raise money for charity –with Norwich-based Nelson’s Journey, which supports youngsters who have been affected by bereavement, set to benefit this year.

Mark Dean, chairman of the club, said he was happy to be able to welcome members of the Star Wars Club to yesterday’s event and hoped it showed that the well-publicised spat, which happened in May, 
was something which happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

He said: “We invited the Star Wars guys along and everything was amicable and proves all problems have been forgotten about.

“We put the hand of friendship out and they took it.”

Richard Walker, president of the Star Wars Club, said he was delighted to accept the invitation. He said: “Mark phoned me up and said would I like some tickets to come so he sent me six tickets. We’ve shaken hands and we’re all friends now. It’s been a good day.”

The event, at the Holiday Inn at Norwich Airport, attracted more than 1800 visitors.

Mr Dean said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. We had a five-year-old Dr Who called Preston who came up and said thank you for organising such a brilliant show. It was great to see the kids all in awe of their comic book heroes like Spiderman and Captain Jack Sparrow.

“The venue was packed all day and hopefully we’ve raised a decent amount for charity.”

Sci-fi fans looking to get pictures with some of their small and big screen idols were in for a treat with C-3PO, R2-D2, a stormtrooper, Daleks, Cybermen, K9, the robot from Lost in Space and a number of lookalikes, including various Dr Whos and Jack Sparrow, roaming around the venue.

Also proving popular were the sci-fi celebrities with people queuing much of the day to get the chance to have an autograph, a chat and a picture.

Colin Baker, the sixth Dr Who; Australian actress Virginia Hey, who is known for her role as Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan on the science fiction TV series Farscape, but who has also appeared in Mad Max 2 and Bond film The Living Daylights; Robert Llewellyn, who played Kryten in Red Dwarf and Chris Barrie, who played Rimmer in the same series were among those pulling in the punters.

James Buxton, 23, and his girlfriend Hannah Self, 21, both from Norwich, were two of those waiting to get autographs. Mr Buxton, who enjoyed meeting the celebrities, said: “It’s been brilliant. It’s the first time I’ve been to NORCON but I would definitely come back.”

Kate Meehan, 22, from Dereham, and her friend Charmagne Daniels, 22, also from Dereham, both got signed Chris Barrie pictures and said they had enjoyed their first NORCON experience.

Miss Daniels said: “People dressing up I think gives it a really good atmosphere. It’s nice to have celebrities and to meet the traders.”

Log on to www.norwichscificlub.co.uk to find out more about the club and upcoming events.

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