Not so long ago in a galaxy not too far away...a brave boy was made an honorary stormtrooper after supporting his mum through her ordeal with breast cancer.
Five-year-old Star Wars super-fan Olly Banachowicz was honoured by supervillain Darth Vader – his favourite character in the sci-fi saga – at the weekend.
A speechless Olly, from Rowlands Castle then marched with troopers from intergalactic charity UK Garrison and his mum, Sonia Goldring-Banachowicz, through Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth.
Olly said: ‘I’m very excited and it actually feels like you’re being a stormtrooper.’
Mum Sonia, 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer exactly one year before the honouring of her son, who even postponed his Star Wars-themed birthday party to go to her final session of chemotherapy.
Touched by Olly’s selfless display, UK Garrison arranged the surprise through Sonia to tie in with a fundraising appearance for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.
Sonia said: ‘It’s just a true credit to everything that Olly’s done and everything with looking after me.
‘It’s just absolutely amazing, I just can’t thank UK Garrison enough for everything that they’ve done.
‘Olly’s been an absolute hero, a true angel, bless him.’
A Jawa scavenger from the films met Olly with a goody bag full of Star Wars presents, before Darth Vader surprised him by requesting the honour of having Olly join the 501st ‘Vader’s Fist’ legion of troopers.
Imperial Lord Vader then presented Olly with a certificate, bestowing on him the honorary rank ‘in recognition of [his] eternal devotion to the Emperor’s New Order and to the cause of restoring peace to the galaxy’.
Olly then got into his own trooper uniform to march through the shopping centre, where stormtroopers also took selfies with shoppers.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance will be collecting donations in Gunwharf Quays all week in a Charity of the Year partnership.
Corporate and community fundraiser Ray Southam said: ‘We hope to continue to raise money with the increased footfall during the summer holidays.’