'It's a trip he never got' - plans to scatter Norwich Star Wars club' founder's ashes in US

Organiser Richard Walker at the sci-fi and film fair organised by Norwich District Star Wars Club. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Organiser Richard Walker at the sci-fi and film fair organised by Norwich District Star Wars Club. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Some of the ashes of the founder of a city Star Wars Club are to be scattered in a country, if not a galaxy far, far away.

Richard Walker, who founded the Norwich Star Wars Club UK in 1999, lost his battle with prostate cancer in September 2019.

It meant the 69-year-old was too ill to be able to accompany club members to Star Wars Celebration Chicago held earlier that year. 

Lee Nelson (left), together with Richard Walker (right) and daughter Natalie Walker (centre). PIC: S

Lee Nelson (left), together with Richard Walker (right) and daughter Natalie Walker (centre). PIC: Supplied by Lee Nelson. - Credit: Archant

Mr Walker’s son-in-law Lee Nelson, said: “He wanted to go to America one last time.

“He wanted to come to Chicago but couldn’t.

“He was really upset he couldn’t go - he was gutted.”

Over the past year or so the coronavirus pandemic has made overseas travel virtually impossible.

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But in May next year members of the club, including Mr Nelson, will be heading out to Anaheim, near California for the next major Star Wars fans celebration.

And the 44-year-old says he plans to take some of Mr Walker’s ashes to ensure he can make the last trip to the US he never got to go on.

Mr Nelson said: “It’s symbolic - it’s an American trip he never got.”

Lee Nelson, left, together with David Pye, Norwich Star Wars Club UK chairman, right, and a Stormtrooper.

Lee Nelson, left, together with David Pye, Norwich Star Wars Club UK chairman, right, and a Stormtrooper at the Mile Cross Community Festival in Norwich. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

It is just one of the ways the club is looking to honor the memory of its founder. 

A special memorial patch has been created in memory of Mr Walker who also founded his worldwide Star Wars Flag of Friendship, which was later endorsed by the franchise’s creator George Lucas.

The Richard Walker memorial patch has been produced to raise money for Priscilla Bacon Lodge, a Norfolk hospice which is hoping to open a 24-bed palliative care unit next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Richard Walker memorial patch (top) with Norwich Star Wars Club UK patch (bottom).

The Richard Walker memorial patch (top) with Norwich Star Wars Club UK patch (bottom). - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

David Pye, club chairman, said they were also looking to raise enough money to pay for two bricks at the new care unit - one in memory of Mr Walker and the other commemorating the club he created.

Mr Pye said: “The two most important things to Richard were family and the Star Wars club.”

The memorial patches are £8 each although if bought with a club patch, normally £5 each, can both be bought for £10.

For more information visit www.norwichstarwarsclub.com or  contact 07957223638.


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