Wrexham: Stormtroopers to Raise Cash for Young Stroke Victims

A crack squad of Stormtroopers will descend on a shopping centre to raise cash for young stroke victims.

SMembers of the 99th Garrison, who dress up as the imperial soldiers from the Star Wars franchise, for good causes, will invade Eagles Meadow on Saturday June 14, from 10.30am until 3pm.

All the money raised will go to Wrexham-based UK charity Hemichat who support young stroke victims, by enabling affected families to share support, information and life experiences.

The event is the brainchild of Phones 4U store manager at Eagles Meadow, Andy Robertson.

He said: “People generally associate strokes with older people, but it happens to younger people as well. I was quite shocked about the age group it affects. The charity is there to help.

“Young people affected by strokes can have problems with mobility and things like that. It can affect anybody. It can be from birth, or you could just wake up one morning, and something has happened and you’d rely on this charity to help you out.

“People who are affected by things like this can lead happy fulfilling lives, but often they need support.

“You might need them one day, or someone you know. They’re not a faraway charity on the other side of the world. It’s something that’s local, and it’s nice to give something back.”

Andy is a huge Star Wars fan.

He said: “My favourite Star Wars film is the Empire Strikes Back. When it was launched in 1980 I was nine years old.

“I was too young to understand the first because that was a few years before. I went to the cinema with my friends, so there were no parents, and it was just brilliant. I think I went to see it three times in the end.

“It was the first film I got on video when the home video market took off where you could buy a video as opposed to renting it.

“I remember my mum being it for me from ASDA for about £10. I got all the figures and I remember getting them on Christmas morning, but the Stormtroopers were always definitely the coolest ones.”

Andy paid tribute to the members of the 99th Garrison.

He said: “This group of people dress up very authentically, and they come and raise money for charity. It’s a fun day that makes a lot of people happy. These Stormtroopers are in demand. It’s been hard to book them. It’s taken pretty much four months.

“These guys from the 99th Garrison are very dedicated. They have got movie quality uniforms, and their kit even has to be checked out by a committee. It has to be that accurate, with the quality of the helmet, the armour, and the voice box all the right spec.”

Stormtrooper Paul Truesdale, from Wrexham, is delighted to be part of an event on home turf.

The father of four who works in the Chester branch of Bank of America as a project manager in the fraud department, said: “I’m very excited to come down to Eagles Meadow to raise money for such a good cause – It’s brilliant.

“We don’t often get a chance to do local events in Wrexham so it’s nice. When we have done events here we’ve had a fantastic reception from the public and raised quite a lot of money.

Paul who travels all over the country with the 99th Garrison is trying to convince his fiancé Mel to have a Star wars themed wedding.

He said: “We do a lot of weddings, we do christenings, and we’ve done funerals before. We do birthday parties, baby showers, all sorts. Every weekend we’ve got an event.

“The weddings can be pretty quirky, and it’s usually it’s the bride that organises it believe it or not. Brides have dressed up like Princess Leia in the past.

“The first wedding I did Darth Vader walked the bride down the aisle. The Stormtroopers were the honour guard with their blasters up, and the bride and groom walked underneath the blasters with the Star Wars imperial march theme playing as they walked down the aisle.

“Those events are really important because they’re good fun for the bride and groom and also they make a donation for charity for our appearance.”

Paul revealed that he found out about Hemichat when they came in to do a presentation at his Bank of America office.

He said: “They came in and gave us a presentation on what they do and what they support, and the children involved and it tugged at the heart strings a bit. They rely on donations 100 per cent.

“It was nice to support a local charity and to do an event fort them, and support the kids who can be quite poorly.

“The money goes to the kids to enrich their lives, and give them experiences that they wouldn’t normally have. It’s one of those small charities that not many people know about, and doing this event is giving people a chance to learn about this charity and hopefully increase donations and support.”

Founder of Hemichat Gillian Hayes whose four-year-old son Luke had a stroke when he was 10 months old, is delighted that about the event at Eagles Meadow.

She said: “When we were approached about the event we were over the moon, because the money raised will help us to support families in need to help, and raise awareness of the issue.”

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley: “I am delighted that Eagles Meadow is hosting a visit by the Star Wars Stormtroopers as it is in aid of such a worthy cause.”

For more information about Hemichat please visit www.hemichat.org or ring +44 (0) 844 802 3203.

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