Alan Flyng

Alan Flyng

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Alan and Derek with the 501st and Friends at Bayern Park. 21.08.2010.

Today was the culmination of my participation in Star Wars events until now. I had been sworn to keep 'stumm' (yes, we use it in English too :o) ) about the fact that I was to be awarded the 501st's highest honour - an Honorary Membership given to those who have contributed to making the film franchise what it is today and in recognition of good works performed for charity in the name of Star Wars, the 501st Legion and associated organisations. The award was to be presented by a splendid guy named Ulli Pallor of the SESQ Custodes Euroi Squad (Guards of the South-East), part of the wider family known as the German Garrison.

The visit commenced with an Easyjet flight, in company with my friend and fellow German Garrison Honorary Member, Derek Lyons. As normal, the flight was delayed and we arrived in a baking hot Munich airport quite late. We were met by Ulli and Hubert Siebertz of the Arma Candida (White Weapons) and set off for Reisbach - the nearest town to Bayern Park and the destination for the following day.

The hotel restaurant was already closed (thank you again  Easyjet) and so we stopped en route at a drive-through McDonald's - a very different proposition to the English branches! Here the selection of food was at least twice as large and was more like a restaurant than the UK's plastic palaces! We ate and continued on to the hotel. Ulli had had the foresight to check us in and collect our keys in advance - just as well, as the hotel was dark, with no night concierge to greet us!

Das Hotel Schlappinger Hof.

This was a family-owned hotel of a very good standard and with comfortable rooms. My only problem was to connect to the advertised Wi-fi facility, which the owner maintained was not needing a reboot, as diagnosed by my laptop, but that my laptop was English and could therefore not speak to his German router!!! I was informed he thought I would have to wait until I came home, where it could talk to other 'English computers!' I found this rather funny, but didn't pursue it further...of course, in the light of events, he was right - sort of!!! Hehehehe!!!!

The next morning, we ate a good breakfast and waited on our host to pick us up for the big event. Outside the hotel, the small town was colourful and clean, so we wandered around a little. Opposite the hotel is a beautifully crafted bronze fountain outside a chemist's shop.

Derek by the fountain in bronze. A roundel, pierced and finely wrought, hangs from the top, with a representation of the Virgin Mary.

We had both brought a limited number of photos, in case we had an opportunity or were asked to sign for those in the park. We had discussed the matter with Ulli and agreed a reduced price, should the situation arise. What we met with in the park was overwhelming! The park was heaving with visitors! We went to the green room, where costumers had assembled, not only from Germany, but also Italy, Switzerland and Austria! We sat a short while and observed the incredible quality of the costumes!!!

501st Costumers getting ready

Björn Bücker and Petra Stöcklein with Derek
Finally, it was time for our presentation to the assembled crowds. It was astonishing how many were there!. For once, I appreciated the use of the expression by the accompanying Stormtroopers to either side to "make way - move along", as the press of the crowd was very real!

A stage had been built for the occasion in a small paved and cobbled forecourt, opposite a large (5 meter tall) statue of a Bavarian lion. We ascended the steps and found ourselves looking out on a sea of faces!

Ulli awards a promotion to a German Garrison Naval Officer.
The posters produced to mark the occasion of the 8th Stormtrooper Meet in Bayern Park.

Derek responding to the welcome speech given by Walter,  far right - a great guy from the Park.

Walter, a member of the Park staff management gave a warm speech of welcome, to which we were each asked to respond. Derek, with the aid of Andrea Rilli (above in TK armour), gave a hearty vote of thanks, punctuated with his favourite German phrase "ich mag Chocoladenkuchen!",  for the invitation to attend and for the great welcome offered us. I had intended to speak in English, but the size of the crowd and looks of expectation towards the Guest of Honour, myself, prompted me to take my life in my hands and address the crowd in German. Andrea helped me out and we received a roar of applause! Derek and I were wondering what we might be doing next, until we noticed tables laid out to the side of the stage and realised we were going to start giving autographs immediately!. I have to say, I have never been mobbed before, but that is what happened to us, and rather than sign for an hour and move on, we signed through lunch! Derek moved off and was intercepted to give a brief interview on camera, and as he moved off, I was asked to do the same.

I lost sight of Derek and the Troopers and soon found myself surrounded with more people wanting to ask questions in German and wanting autographs. So, I had little choice but to smilingly return to the table and recommence signing! Apart from an interlude when Derek and I were called back to the stage for ten minutes for the presentation of my Honorary 501st Membership, and a brief sojourn inside a climbing wall-lined 'castle' as a hostage of the Rebel Legion, we stayed there signing until the Park closed!!! A total of seven hours by my reckoning! We signed what seemed like hundreds of posters produced for the event by Ulli and the 501st, as well as everything we had brought with us - even 60 business cards and 50 bookmarks I had brought to give to kids! In fact, I did come home with three photos, which I had left in the hotel room! LOL!!!

Receiving the laser-etched plaque award from Ulli, assisted by Hubert Siebertz, and my ID badges to identify me as an Honorary Member of the 501st, worldwide.

Padme Amidala - Tanja Achatz - tries to make an escape! LOL :o)
Being held captive for ransom by the Rebel Legion and friends in the castle of climbing walls - and no, the kid behind is in a harness - he isn't hanging by the neck, as it seems! LOLOL :o)

And back to signing.....

The crowd never let up and the pile of items to sign disappeared rapidly.

Ulli conducted a tombola behind us, distributing prizes for completed questionnaires the kids had filled out, including questions about Derek and me. Ulli was ably assisted by his lovely daughter, Constanze.

I have rarely felt so incredibly hot! Much of the time we were in the sun and with a temperature of 32 - 35 degrees Celsius, we were baking! But the crowds were good-humoured and patient for the most part and we managed to please nearly everyone! The best of all was seeing the kids' faces, as we gave them free pics and autographs when parents were intent not to spend a penny. We hate to disappoint anyone!

When we finally moved off after a fantastic day all round, we headed back to the hotel in order to freshen up and look forward to a meal with Ulli and friends later on. Derek and I settled down to sign posters for members of the 501st and also dedicate a few items as a way of showing our thanks to Ulli and his crew. A shower and change and we went down to an evening of laughter and great food!

Derek - happy and replete!
Andrea Rilli, me, Hubert Siebertz, Derek and Ulli Pallor.

And with that, off we went to sleep the sleep of the just....LOL!

The following day - our last - we were whisked off for a day of sightseeing, starting with the city of Passau. Our driver this day was a really nice guy named Michael Robl. This city sits at the confluence of three rivers; the Danube; the Inn (flowing from Innsbrueck) and the Ilz. Each of these three rivers is coloured differently by the silt they carry from their sources and a curious division of the three waters occurs before they mix...

The three rivers converge...

The Danube - dark green; the Inn - pale green; and the Ilz - grey.

A close-up of the architecture of the city below

Another view of Passau from halfway down the hill.

Then on to a lovely lunch at an outdoor restaurant. As I am not a beer drinker, I was forced to toast with what I had available - a pork knuckle!!! Ulli invited a local comic-shop owner to come and meet us, who generously presented Derek and me with souvenir editions of the Star Wars comic in German.

We then moved off, picked up Michael's girlfriend, Andrea Obermaier, and a dash down the Autobahn developed towards Landshut, a former major medieval city and capital of the area. As we had taken time to eat lunch, we were pressed to see much, but we fairly galloped around the town and were incredibly impressed with the beauty of the architecture and the setting!


Derek and me at the other end of the main street with the enormous Cathedral Spire behind us.

The last remaining city gate with the cathedral spire in view.

View from the bridge leading away from the city with the Ducal Castle/Palace on the hilltop. It is said the citizens of the city could see what thr Duke was eating by climbing the towering cathedral spire, which overlooks the palace on the hilltop, and looking down on the Duke's dinner table!!!

Michael and Andrea with Derek
The huge medieval brick-built spire

A beautifully painted facade.
We made a furious dash back to Munich, to get there in time for check-in - say our goodbyes and thanks and then......Easyjet! You guessed it - delayed!!! Hahahaha!

Arriving in London in the middle of the night, I finally dropped Derek off at his house around 1 AM! But, in spite of that, I remain totally enchanted by the wonderful experiences I have had this weekend! My thanks to the 501st, the German Garrison, and in particular, Ulli and team! I will add and correct this report as the days continue! I do hope we can do this all again!!! Thank you all so much from us both!

Link to the excellent blog of some of the costumed participants:

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Getting sorted for the German Garrison at Bayernpark August 21st 2010 and a visit to Derek Lyons.

This coming weekend, Derek Lyons and I will be travelling to Bavaria and an encounter with the excellent costumers who are the German Garrison of the 501st! Long anticipated and definitely to be enjoyed, Derek and I will participate in fun and games, including a white-water rafting experience and who knows what else! Watch this space as I update after the event with pictures and accounts of daring do!

In the meantime, I have been going through my photos, which I will take with me to sign. Below is part of the selection, which, in due course, I will also be offering on my website!












So, there's the selection with a few other odd ones tucked away! But I will be there first and foremost to meet these great guys and girls who work tirelessly for charity and the legacy that is Star Wars! If there are any other images people want, please let me know!

Friday, 6 August 2010


It was Derek Lyons, who had contacted me out of the blue, thanks to Facebook putting us back in touch after some 30 years, with the surprising revelation that I was sought after in the world of Star Wars conventions and autograph collectors.! He explained very patiently that my brief role in Return of the Jedi made me a bit of a rarity in 2009, in as much as the character had been listed on Wookiepedia as ‘Unidentified Imperial Officer - Executor’ and my true identity had not been established - a speaking part, however minor, who had never signed publicly - ever!!!

Derek had, in fact, previously put me in touch with a French collector and Convention organiser by the name of Aurelien Lukowski in Paris, who came over to London to meet me; get me to sign a few items and photographs he had prepared of me and then told me he had a fellow autograph collector and pre-order service provider in Belgium by the name of Mark Dermul of, who wanted to arrange a private signing session for me. It was all rather strange to me, but I said fine! In no time flat Mark was in touch and told me to expect two packages by special delivery - posters and books in one and photographs and action figure in the next. Pens would be provided and stickers on each item would inform me of colour pen to use, where to sign and what, if any, dedication to add. In the event, everything arrived with a further exhortation to make sure I was photographed signing items! Boy, what a palaver, I thought! But I need have had no worries - it all went off as planned!

My first signing through Mark Dermul's site,

Subsequently, it became obvious that if I were to continue and be active in signing for fans, I needed to emerge further and attend conventions as collectors came to know my name. Derek was a font of knowledge and very soon found the perfect venue for me to make my debut at - a small fan-organised convention in Bochum-Werne called Daedalus Con. Derek made the arrangements and before long we were nearly ready to go. I lacked one major asset, which is a major requirement of such gatherings - photos!!! I need not have worried - Derek had it firmly in hand and organised for me the procurement and payment for them also! And that is where we will go next!