Norwich Star Wars Club uses the force to help new £12m hospice appeal bid

Chewbacca and Richard Walker. PIC: Supplied by Lee Nelson.

The late Richard Walker, right, co-founder and president of the Norwich Star Wars Club UK. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich Star Wars club is using the force to help a Norfolk hospice reach its £12.5million target so a new state-of-the-art facility can be built.

The fundraising campaign to build the new Pricilla Bacon Lodge, backed by this newspaper, was launched in February 2019 and has  raised more than £10m to build the new hospice near the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The artist impressions of the proposed Priscilla Bacon Lodge hospice on the edge of Norwich. Chief e

The artist impressions of the proposed Priscilla Bacon Lodge hospice on the edge of Norwich. Chief executive officer of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal, Mark Nicholas, is pictured on the left. Picture: Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal/Sophie Wyllie - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal/S

The campaign has won the support of Jedis, Sith Lords and members of the Rebel Alliance attached to the Norwich Star Wars Club UK who want to support the hospice in memory of the late Richard Walker, who was the co-founder and president of the club.

Norwich Star Wars Club host a Star Wars themed collectors fair at the UEA. Organiser Richard Walker.

Norwich Star Wars Club host a Star Wars themed collectors fair at the UEA. Organiser Richard Walker.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Mr Walker, 69, formerly of Mile Cross, died in September 2019 following a battle with prostate cancer but was helped by staff at Priscilla Bacon Lodge before he died.

His family have already raised enough cash to have Mr Walker's name put on a brick at the new palliative care centre and now the club is trying to net another £1,000 to get another brick at the site.

Mr Walker's son-in-law Lee Nelson, 45, a committee member at the club, said his daughter Megan, 24, and Mr Walker's niece, Maryanne Hoy, raised £1,300 from a skydive at Beccles Airfield in the summer of 2020.

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

Lee Nelson, left, and David Pye, right, of the Norwich Star Wars Club UK with a Stormtrooper at a previous event. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

He said the club now wanted to do its bit too and has reached around £650 of the £1,000 target to get a brick through the sale of special memorial patches and other donations to the club.

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

Mr Nelson said they wanted to help the hospice because it "moved heaven and earth for Richard".

He said: "When he couldn't get to them they came to us.

Most Read

"We've got such a strong bond with them - even on the day Richard passed away, they came round to say their goodbyes to him before he went.

"He (Richard) was the life and soul of that centre - he would try and boost morale and what not.

"They were excellent and we couldn't thank them enough for what they did.

"If we can help them open this place quicker, that's what we want to do."

The Richard Walker memorial patch features Chewbacca, a character that Mr Walker used to dress up as at events, and Star Wars actors who have died, including Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia).

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