Don’t worry, the Empire hasn’t taken over Blackpool!
A resort postman will be delivering mail in a Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit today to raise money for charity.
Darren Sutcliffe, 48, of Warrick Place in Normoss , will be donning the famous white suit to raise money for Kidney Research UK in memory of his 71-year-old stepfather Rod Park, who died a year ago.
The Royal Mail employee has been a Star Wars fan since the first film came out in 1977.
He said: “I was always interested in joining the Star Wars costume groups but never took the next step until last year. The Stormtrooper was my favourite character so naturally I chose that outfit.”
When Darren was building his costume, his stepfather, who was a resort police officer, became ill and died. This is when Darren thought of the idea due to May 4 being a Star Wars fan day – based on the iconic line from the films ‘May the force be with you.’
He said: “Rod had a kidney transplant 20 years ago, he had polycystic kidney disease and lost his father to the same disease at the age of 46. However, with Rod it was other health issues that took his life. Rod is sadly missed, he was a very funny man with a great sense of humour, who was caring, and loving and best of all, he made my mum happy.
“Following the funeral service, I was reading through the order of service book when it dawned on me that Rod had passed away on May 4.
“Being a Star Wars fan, that’s when I had the crazy idea of delivering mail dressed in my stormtrooper costume for Kidney Research UK in memory of my stepfather.”
Darren is part of the costume group UK Garrison which volunteer for charity events across the country. He will be doing his rounds this morning in South Shore, starting in Harrowside.
He said: “I am looking forward to it so much. The interaction with children and parents is brilliant and I get so many requests for selfies. It all raises money as well.”
As a member of the UK Garrison group Darren has to adhere to certain rules before setting off on his round.
These includes him not being seen getting into or out of the costume, so a special van has been arranged for him to take breaks in between delivering letters.
Darren has the backing of his employers, Royal Mail who have offered to match his final total at the end.
To sponsor Darren visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-sutcliffe19
About Kidney Research UK
The charity Kidney Research UK was founded in 1961 and is the largest charity dedicated to research into kidney disease in the UK, with the aim of finding better treatments and ultimately cures for kidney diseases.
Kidney disease is a silent killer and every year more than 60,000 people are treated for end stage kidney failure, 3,000 people die on dialysis, while 240 die waiting for a kidney transplant.
Kidney Research UK is dedicated to substantially reducing these numbers through funding life-saving research into kidney disease and by generating public awareness of kidney health.
80 per cent of people on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney, which is over 5,600 patients. Even though cases of kidney failure are increasing by four per cent every year, a lack of funding means we are unable to fund all of the high quality research we want to - proposals which are aimed at enhancing treatments and ultimately finding a cure for kidney disease.