Star Wars Day: Our archive photos show the force is strong in Norwich

STAFF AT THE PRINCE OF WALES PUB, PRINCE OF WALES ROAD, NORWICH, IN STAR WARS KIT FOR THEIR IMPERIAL

STAFF AT THE PRINCE OF WALES PUB, PRINCE OF WALES ROAD, NORWICH, IN STAR WARS KIT FOR THEIR IMPERIAL CANCER RESEARCH CHARITY FUN DAY. THEY ARE: PAUL HARRIS (OBI WAN KENOBI), VICTORIA ROBINSON, (YODA), DAN GITTINS (DARTH MAUL) AND MIKE FERRY (DARTH VADER). Photo: Keith Whitmore - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Norwich and Star Wars go together like R2D2 and C-3PO. In honour of May 4th (Star Wars Day) we look back at the fine city's history of celebrating all the things that have come from a galaxy far, far away.

OFF TO SEE STAR WARS ARE,LEFT TO RIGHT:JOHN MASTERS, MATT JEX, ROBIN KELLY AND ALEX WALTON. Photo: P

OFF TO SEE STAR WARS ARE,LEFT TO RIGHT:JOHN MASTERS, MATT JEX, ROBIN KELLY AND ALEX WALTON. Photo: Paul Hewitt - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

As Star Wars mania swept the planet between 1977 and 2005, Norwich locals jumped on the bandwagon and made the most of the craze. One man in particular created a name for himself among fans of the films by opening a store devoted to the franchise.

GARY MOXON THE OWNER OF THE STAR WARS EMPORIUM ON LOWER GOAT LANE (RIGHT) AND IAN KETTLE WITH TOY LI

GARY MOXON THE OWNER OF THE STAR WARS EMPORIUM ON LOWER GOAT LANE (RIGHT) AND IAN KETTLE WITH TOY LIGHTSABERS FROM THE FILM THE PHANTOM MENANCE. Photo: Liz Reynolds - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Gary Moxon owned the Star Wars Emporium on Lower Goat Lane in the 1990s selling specialist collectors items such as Lightsabers, Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, Darth Vader masks and character mugs.

Ian Kettle left and Gary Moxon (Manager) play the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit at the Star Wars Emporiu

Ian Kettle left and Gary Moxon (Manager) play the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit at the Star Wars Emporium, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Photo: Liz Reynolds - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

His store was more popular than ever in 1999 during the lead up to the release of Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, the first Star Wars film to be released in 16 years following Return of the Jedi in 1983. Everyone was unsurprisingly excited for the film, especially those working at the old Odeon in Anglia Square.

ODEON CINEMAS' PAUL DOYLE (RIGHT) AND KEVIN LANGE WITH TICKETS FOR 'STAR WARS EPISODE ONE: THE PHANT

ODEON CINEMAS' PAUL DOYLE (RIGHT) AND KEVIN LANGE WITH TICKETS FOR 'STAR WARS EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE'. Photo: Keith Whitmore - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Following this, merchandise quickly became a hot commodity, Lego Star Wars hit the shops the same year and aside from the Star Wars Emporium, Norwich based toy store Kerrisons was the place to go for popular figurines and toys, while early copies of the Phantom Menace video could be purchased at the former Virgin Megastore on Castle Meadow.

VIRGIN MEGASTORES MORGAN SADLER WITH A LOOK AT THE VIDEO OF STAR WARS EPISODE ONE. Photo: Steve Ad

VIRGIN MEGASTORES MORGAN SADLER WITH A LOOK AT THE VIDEO OF STAR WARS EPISODE ONE. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers


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In the early 2000s Norwich fans really got to feel the power of the force as the first ever Norwich film fair was held at Blackfriars Hall. Notable guests included Warwick Davis who portrayed Wicket the ewok, Raymond Griffiths who played the Gank Droid and R2D2 himself, Kenny Baker.

Star Wars stars at the first ever Film Fair in Norwich, Blackfriars Hall. From left; Warwick Davis -

Star Wars stars at the first ever Film Fair in Norwich, Blackfriars Hall. From left; Warwick Davis - played Wicket the ewok, Raymond Griffiths - played the Gank Droid, and Kenny Baker - played R2D2. Mark Sayers in a Storm Trooper costume, he is from the Norwich and District Star wars Collectors Club. Photo by Natasha Lyster - Credit: © Eastern Counties Newspapers

Today, force fever still grips the city. Norwich Star Wars Club has been going strong since its conception in 1999 and has raised a lot of money for various charities as well as having organised several big events in the city.

Norwich Star Wars Club at a Castle Mall fundraising event. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich Star Wars Club at a Castle Mall fundraising event. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2011

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• Do you know of any other connections between Norwich and Star Wars? Share them in the comments below.

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