The Force steps in: Sci-fi fans turn to the dark side in clash at Norwich Star Wars convention

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
3:52 PM

Rival sci-fi clubs had to be separated by ‘the force’ when police were called to break up feuding fans at a Norwich Star Wars convention.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The family event threatened to turn to the dark side and escalate into a fight between costumed characters when visiting Doctor Who fans clashed with Star Wars enthusiasts.

Officers were called at around 2.30pm on Sunday when members of the Norwich Sci Fi Club were refused entry at a fair co-hosted by Norwich Star Wars Club at the University of East Anglia.

More than a dozen sci-fi fans from both groups – including several in fancy dress – were involved in a bitter exchange outside the venue, sparked by the arrival at the event of Jim Poole, treasurer of Norwich Sci Fi Club.

He was asked to leave the convention as he approached Doctor Who actor Graham Cole for an autograph, leading to a stand-off which was only calmed by police and university security. He and organiser Richard Walker exchanged words inside before taking their dispute outside.

Police confirmed that they had been called to reports of a man being assaulted at the convention, and arrived to find a dispute between two groups.

But a spokesman added: “After lengthy investigation, talking to witnesses and reviewing good CCTV footage, it was confirmed that there was no assault. The two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other’s way.”

Mr Walker, 63, claimed the visiting club had been trying to undermine the convention by posting comments on Facebook, but Mr Poole said he had attended “in good faith” to collect autographs from two actors for a Doctor Who signature diary to be auctioned for charity.

Both sides said there had been a long-running rivalry between the two groups and the events they organise, but told the Evening News they hoped they could resolve their differences and share their love of sci-fi.

After police were called by Mr Poole, he was asked to sit in the back of a police car while officers spoke to those involved. Police at the scene described the altercation as “very minor”.

More than 1,000 people had attended the convention in the UEA’s Lower Common Room, which was hosted with Hollywood Cinemas.

The convention returned this year after a three-year absence and, despite the altercation, was described as “a very successful day” by Mr Walker.

He added: “We will be back next year with an even bigger and better fair.

“It takes about six or seven months to organise a fair, but it’s been really good.”

The convention reunited the four remaining bounty hunters from the Star Wars films for the first time, and also featured a large auction of memorabilia in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Norwich Sci Fi Club is staging the Nor-Con Norwich Sci Fi convention on September 8, at the Norwich North Holiday Inn on Cromer Road.

17 comments

  • This is pure sensationalism, negative & lazy reporting! I was there as a guest & did not witness this happening! This has certainly been blown out of proportion and to be honest I am disgusted that you give into this negative press when Richard and his Star wars Club members worked so hard for you to embarrass him like this! You should be ashamed of publishing this negative story and encouraging disputes! Richard & the guests raised a lot of funds towards cancer research but YOU would not be interested in publishing such a positive Story! I think that reporter should go back to the drawing board and learn some values and appreciation! I personally would like to thank Richard & all for a great day & raising monies towards cancer research. Well Done!

    Report this comment

    Donna Africa

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Just as well the sci-fiction equivalent of 'millwall', the Star Trekkers Crew.. were too busy cheering on the canaries, otherwise both these plastic anoraks would've took one hell of a be*ting.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • It wouldn't have come to blows;surely no self respecting sci fi nerd would remove a weapon from it's original packaging ?

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Next week:- Teletubbies v Wombles

    Report this comment

    Muggas Budal

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • May the Farce be with you.

    Report this comment

    Sherbert

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

  • Penny, Penny, Penny

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Albert Cooper, if it's so out dated and ghastly, why did Disney purchase it for £2.5b recently? Besides, the Norwich Star Wars club has many members and a number of youngsters are club members who are new to the franchise. They really love it and make new friends, enjoy Jedi training and club members travel all over the world. If you'd have been at the convention, you'd have seen how actors like Jeremy Bulloch are still valued and how excited fans are to meet these brilliant guests. It may not be your thing but its as popular as ever! No need to be so critical especially when the club raises so much money for charity too. Focus on the positives.

    Report this comment

    Rach Nobes

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Donna, Rach, thanks for filling us in with the details on what these clubs actually do. I found the article kind of odd when I first read it, hence my first comment. Hope the fund raising was a big success.

    Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Muggle wars.

    Report this comment

    DocOhNo

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

  • Star Wars very oudated,and ghaslly Sci-Fi in any case !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • I have been a member of both clubs and they have both done fantastic work for charity. I witnessed this minor incident and it is not worth putting on the front page. It would have been better to focus on the fantastic guests that turned up, the money raised for charity and the great costumes and props that were there. Not a silly individual who has had a petty agenda. He let down the good name of the Norwich Sci fi Club. The other members were welcomed in once the incident had been resolved. I have no idea why you decided to focus on one incident instead of this wonderful convention that was held, I guess you think it looks good implying this was a big incident involving "rivals" but your reporter has let you down. It wasn't. Maybe next time talk to the fans, celebrities and traders who had a wonderful time and let people know the truth - that the charity auction raised almost £400 for Cancer Research UK and the Star Wars club meets every month and welcomes everyone along to join in! I hope both groups can move on and not let pettiness get in the way of things! I think the Evening News should also stop reporting on something so pointless. Congratulations to Norwich Star Wars club on arranging a fantastic event and good luck to Norcon for their future events!

    Report this comment

    Rach Nobes

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • I was very fortunate enough not to be anywhere near the university that day, it sounds almost as frightening as the Bunfight At The O.K. Tea Rooms.

    Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Oh come on guys - if you work together you could do so much more. These conventions are a great way of attracting tourists to our fine city - please put on a united front and make them all welcome.

    Report this comment

    Huw Sayer

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • STATEMENT FROM THE NSFC CHAIRMAN: The press reports of a major brawl at The local Star Wars Event at the UEA on Sunday May 12th have been massively misreported and exaggerated. There was a "minor" verbal altercation between a member of the Norwich Star Wars Club (NSWC) and a member of the Norwich Sci Fi Club (NSFC). Police were called to prevent any escalation and this was so. The 2 members of the NSFC who entered the UEA event did so to obtain 2 signatures for a Diary that is to be auctioned off for good causes. The press would have you believe that there were 12 people all brawling outside the event and chaos ensued and this was clearly not the case. Both groups, shook hands at the end of the matter and have both agreed to put any differences aside and to work together for good causes. The NSFC will be inviting the NSWC to attend as guests to NOR-CON IV to be held on September 8th 2013 www.nor-con.co.uk

    Report this comment

    LowieGrower

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

  • Thank you & appreciated. :)

    Report this comment

    Donna Africa

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

  • Donna - I think you have a problem with your keyboard , it is throwing out endless numbers of exclamation marks for no apparent reason.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

  • Donna! Don't!You! Mean! Thankyou! &! Appreciated!!! ?

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT