June 18 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, June 10, 2012
A Star Wars fan has returned safely to Bowthorpe from his intergalatic DIY SOS mission.
Mark Cox travelled to Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tattooine – better known as Tunisia – to perform essential repairs to a set that has become a place of pilgrimage for die-hard fans of the films.
The project was the culmination of two years of hard work that began when Mark, 35, and his wife Sarah, 34, married outside the Lars Homestead in 2010.
Upon seeing the poor condition of the building, the pair set up set a Facebook group and started collecting donations to repair it.
Within a year, 425 donors gave amounts ranging from $1 to $600 apiece to build a $11,700 fighting fund.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Mark, whose day job is working for Aviva.
“But it was so humbling that people had trusted us with the money to do the work, and that they so wanted to help us.”
The six-strong group’s visit was postponed because of the Arab Spring uprising last year, but they were undeterred on their mission to restore the set which featured in the original 1970s films.
They spent four days working with local Tunisian labourers in 50C heat on the salt flats to finish the project.
Mark said: “It’s just captivating – there’s nothing there.
“It really feels like you are actually there in the film, and when you watch the sun set it is amazing.
“Now that we’ve done the work, we hope people will be able to go there and have those memories again.
“It’s been my moment of fame, and I’ve had so many messages of thanks since I got back.”
The group plan to write a book about their rescue mission, which was also filmed for a DVD, both of which will be sold to raise funds for future repairs.