The 99th [duly supported by our good friends The Mint Imperials] was asked by the Trafford Centre management team to attend their Christmas lights switch on on Thursday 1st November, 2012.
This was an evening event which meant leaving work at 2:30pm. I was hoping to arrive at the venue for about 4:30 and have time for something to eat before getting ready to do Memah. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous and I finally got there at about 5:10pm and had to be ready in costume for 6:30pm so it was straight to the changing rooms [staff ladies loo/changing room!] to start getting ready.
I was ready for about 6:20pm and went and joined Ken, Paul, Jim and Wayne from the 99th together with Stacey, Phil, Richard, Ken, Phil, Jacob and Neil from the Mint Imperials. We were also joined by a little boy called Will [and his mum, dad and sister] who, as a birthday treat, was to troop with us that night. I was asked to lead the parade out with Will and then look after him during the troop and it was an absolute pleasure. He told me part way through the night that it was his best birthday ever!! Awwwww!!
I had both extremes of the Star Wars knowledge base at the event as I had one lady who thought that I was a smurf [Tut!] and one young man who knew who I was and knew more about my character’s life story than I did!! There was also much talk about the acquisition of Star Wars by Disney. The majority of us are withholding judgement but 2015 could be a busy year for the 99th and other Star Wars costuming groups with the launch of Episode VII.
We trooped in our usual spot at the Trafford Centre [by the band stand in the Orient] and on this occasion we were collecting for the Walking With Giants Foundation and were joined by Sue, John, Alex and their supporters. See www.walkingwithgiants.org/. A brilliant £632 was raised in just two hours!
The main Christmas lights switch on was done by McFly and there were other celebrities there too. I saw Clare Sweeny in the ladies although I couldn’t put a name to her face at first I just knew that I knew her from something on TV! The screaming from McFly’s fans when they appeared on the main stage was deafening. I didn't chance to take many photos so they are bit scarce on this post.
We finished the troop by 8:30pm and then it was time to “de-blue” myself as much as possible before making the long journey home, getting back at about 11:10pm and feeling suitably hungry and tired!! Fortunately, there was some fruit loaf in the house which I had toasted with a glass of milk before going to bed.
A huge thanks to Ken, Paul, Jim and Wayne [Wayne's first troop with the 99th] and Stacey, Richard, Jacob, Phill Ken and Neil from the Mint Imperials for attending this event and making it so enjoyable!
Looking forward to going back to the Trafford Centre on the 8th December, to collect for Dreamflight. See www.dreamflight.org