PICTURE GALLERY: Star Wars fans turn out for huge memorabilia exhibit

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COLLECTORS, families and avid film fans gathered at a gallery to explore an extensive collection of Star Wars movie memorabilia.

The impressive hoard, on display at Gosport Gallery on Saturday, was marvelled over by many at the May The Toys Be With You exhibition.

Dexter and Arlo Tipper try on some star war costumes. Picture: Keith Woodland

Dexter and Arlo Tipper try on some star war costumes. Picture: Keith Woodland

In association with Hampshire Culture Trust and mental health charity Solent Mind, the team at Gosport Gallery showcased items belonging to long-time Star Wars fan Matt Fox at free event.

Matt was just five years old when he saw Star Wars in 1978. He said: ‘It was my first ever cinema outing.

‘That Christmas, I was bought a Darth Vader action figurine and that is where it all started. I fell in love with everything Star Wars and began my collection.’

Visitors inspected action figures, movie posters and children got the chance to make lightsabers, Yoda ears and finger puppets.

Dot Bedenham and Sue Mathews with Dylan Poynte, 6 with Yoda Ears. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland PPP-170930-203324006

Dot Bedenham and Sue Mathews with Dylan Poynte, 6 with Yoda Ears. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland PPP-170930-203324006

Matt, now 45, has assembled a collection that brings many of the rarest and best condition Star Wars toys to one show.

Wendy Redman, cultural engagement co-ordinator and Solent Mind representative, said: ‘It has been a fantastic day. We’ve had lots of adult fans impressed with the items on display. They have even shown us pictures of their own collections.

‘People are also generous and making kind donations to the charity, so all in all it has been a successful event!’

One of the most exciting features of the day was an appearance from Joe Absett, the Solent Mind Trooper.

The scene from the exhibition

The scene from the exhibition

Joe, dressed in an authentically made Storm Trooper suit, attends events to raise awareness for Solent Mind.

Joe said: ‘When people donate money, they shouldn’t just be getting a photo, they deserve a more interactive experience.

‘I have suffered with mental health issues in the past and I’m in a more therapeutic place now so I want to help other people by raising money and awareness. We have had a great day today.’

The exhibition will continue to run at the Gosport Gallery until January 6.

Star Wars collector Matt Fox and Wendy Redman of the Hampshire Cultural Trust

Star Wars collector Matt Fox and Wendy Redman of the Hampshire Cultural Trust