Why is Darth Vader leading a funeral procession in a Norwich City scarf?
PUBLISHED: 10:23 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:05 22 October 2019
The Canaries-loving founder of a Norwich Star Wars club has been given a fitting send off after Darth Vader led his funeral procession wearing a Norwich City scarf.
Richard Walker, 69, co-founder and president of the Norwich Star Wars Club UK, died at his Mile Cross home surrounded by family and friends, including his wife Sandra, also 69, after losing his fight with prostate cancer at the end of last month.
Mr Walker helped to unite Star Wars fans across the galaxy after founding his World Wide Star Wars Flag of Friendship which was later endorsed by the franchise's creator George Lucas.
And with Star Wars and Norwich City Football Club playing such a big part in the father-of-three's life, his son-in-law Lee Nelson said Darth Vader would be leading Mr Walker on his final journey at his funeral at St Faiths Crematorium.
And so it was on Saturday (October 19) that the Sith Lord, sporting a Canaries scarf, led the procession for the grandfather-of-six who used to dress up as Vader when he was trooping for the club.
Mr Nelson said: "The funeral service was perfect. Many people said 'Richard would've loved it, he had the best send off'."
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The service was conducted by celebrant Mark Tyack who delivered a "heartfelt, emotional but joyous service" after Darth Vader had led Mr Walker and his family to a packed chapel while the Beatles' Let it Be played in the background.
Mr Nelson said the procession also paused outside Kerrison Toys on Aylsham Road, Norwich so that staff members of the shop, which sponsors the Norwich Star Wars Club, could pay their respects to Mr Walker.
Mr Nelson said: "The chapel was full, every seat was taken, whilst mourners had to stand in the aisle and in the porch outside having to watch the service via a television screen.
"This was a overwhelming testimony to Richard."
Mr Walker, who was an avid Norwich City fan, set up the Norwich and District Star Wars Collectors Club, as it was formerly known, shortly before the release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in July 1999.
A collection for Priscilla Bacon Lodge, which greatly helped Mr Walker and his family before he died last month, was also held at the funeral service.