Imperial Stormtrooper Ratchet (aka Ben Gordon) from the Southern Cross Garrison 501st Legion.
Imperial Stormtrooper Ratchet (aka Ben Gordon) from the Southern Cross Garrison 501st Legion. Cathy Adams

Helicopter service will benefit from the Force awakening

STORMTROOPERS will be cheering cinema-goers - they may even sing Christmas carols - at a special screening of Star Wars - The Force Awakens.

The film is a continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).

Getting the gang back together

Directed by J.J. Abrams, the film includes the original cast that made the franchise a success: Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, among others.

The production had a preference for using real locations and miniature models over green-screens and computer-generated imagery whenever possible in order to make the film aesthetically similar to the original Star Wars trilogy.

Fund-raising manager with the Westpac rescue helicopter, Zeke Huish, is hopeful the event will be a sold-out affair.

Fun charity event

"When we heard about the new Star Wars movie coming out, we jumped at the chance to have some fun and host a special charity screening," he said.

"We will be having some special appearances on the afternoon by our friends at the Southern Cross Garrison who love to dress up as Star Wars characters, and we encourage anyone thinking of attending to do the same if they wish."

The franchise has some long-time enthusiasts in the Northern Rivers.

One stormtrooper's story

A long time ago, in a cinema far, far away from Lismore, three-year-old Ben Gordon watched Star Wars for the first time with his parents, John and Vicky.

But little did he know that years after his introduction to the blockbuster sci-fi series, he would be wearing a $1500 Lucas film-endorsed Stormtrooper costume most weekends, putting smiles on the faces of fans young and old while raising money for charity.

When he first met members of the Queensland Redbacks chapter of the 501st Legion at the Gold Coast Supanova (pop culture exhibition) in 2012, Mr Gordon said he was hooked.

"I thought, 'Wow, there's a group of guys who've got some awesome Star Wars costumes,'" he said.

"The next year we went to Supanova again and I got talking to one of the guys and that's when I found out not only do they have awesome Star Wars costumes but they do work for charity.

"That was the tipping point for me, where it went from, 'Wow, that's really cool' to 'That's something I definitely want to do.'"

In November 2013, after serving six months as a cadet, Mr Gordon was given the name Ratchet by the 501st Legion Southern Cross Garrison SCG and his legion ID, TK15378.

Event details

The film will be screening on Sunday, December 20, at 3pm at Birch Carroll and Coyle in Lismore. Tickets at $20 are available by calling the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter on 6627 4444.

Star Wars - The Force Awakens opens in cinemas this Thursday.

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