The Force is getting stronger as new movie awakens fans’ interest in Norwich Star Wars club

Darth Vader and Stormtroopers chat as members of the Norwich Star Wars Club dress in character for t

Darth Vader and Stormtroopers chat as members of the Norwich Star Wars Club dress in character for the showing of Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D at the Riverside Odeon. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

It has been a long, long time since the Star Wars saga began in a galaxy far, far away but with the seventh instalment about to land next month it has sent membership of a Norwich club into hyperspace.

Richard Walker, president of the Norwich Star Wars Club UK, said such has been the interest surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens that the club, which has a Heroes and Villains costume group, had been 'inundated' with new members and had even started a new club night in Suffolk.

Mr Walker said: 'Everyone is so excited the movie is coming out. Everything has gone 200pc – we're getting bookings from all over the country, we're out every weekend, we've got lots of new members.

'Normally we get about two to three [new members] a month but I should think we're getting 30 and some of them have got costumes. It's gone through the roof. We're very pleased. We always look forward to new members, especially those with costumes or who want to troop with us.'

The rapid rise in new recruits has seen membership swell to about 700 in Norwich with a total of about 2,500 around the world.

It has meant the club, which meets on the last Friday of every month at Martineau Lane, has started a second club night in Bury St Edmunds on the second Friday of every month.

Mr Walker said: 'The interest was there.'

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Things have also really taken off for the club, which marks its 16th anniversary next month, since it moved to the New Hope Christian Centre on Martineau Lane this year.

The club will be at the Odeon cinema on Riverside in Norwich from 8pm on December 16 with the film being released in the UK at 12.01am on December 17.

It was a date Mr Walker said he was looking forward to. 'If you're a Star Wars fan you're looking forward to seeing it,' he said.

For more details about the club call Mr Walker on 01603 461828.