Alan Flyng

Alan Flyng

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Darth Vader's Dark Santa Galactic Grotto event for Action for Pre-Eclampsia, Colchester. 18 Dec. 2010.

Ace Comics, Colchester, England.
  I had been looking forward immensely to this event for some time - the last event before Christmas and a timely opportunity to try to help raise some money and, more importantly for so many, awareness of this tragic condition.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related condition that includes elevated blood pressure. Specifically, it is the new onset of high blood pressure and proteinuria (protein in the urine) in a pregnant woman who is beyond 20 weeks gestation. In general, mild preeclampsia is rarely complicated, and both the mother and the baby tend to do fine. Severe preeclampsia is different. In contrast to mild preeclampsia, severe preeclampsia has been shown to be associated with numerous possible negative outcomes. The most common problems associated with severe preeclampsia are:

•Maternal liver problems
•Maternal kidney problems
•Need for cesarean delivery
•Preterm birth
•Fetal growth restriction
•Respiratory problems in the baby

With timely diagnosis, this condition is easily treatable and leads to successful outcomes, whilst without treatment it can even lead to maternal and baby fatality. This fact was brought home to us forcefully, as one of the troopers from the Star Warriors  event had lost the mother of his son twelve hours after birth. And so, there was no doubt in my mind, nor that of the other signers that we needed to be there and do what little we could to help. Also signing were Derek Lyons, Harry 'Aitch' Fielder and Brian Muir, who sadly had to cancel due to ill-health.

The weather was a bit of a worry, as London had already had a good covering the day before and another snow storm was anticipated for the day of the event to blow in and affect the South-East of England again. It was like filming, as I rose at 3.30 a.m to be sure to shower and breakfast in good time to go dig the car out (which I did with no problems) and to drive through hilly South London to Derek's house for our pick-up at 7 a.m. I arrived at 6.30 a.m. and was followed shortly by Rijn and Merlin Gard, brothers with a common mad sense of humour and cheerfulness, with whom I bonded immediately. Definitely my kind of silly daftness courses through their veins too!!! Derek was on an early morning high and kept us all entertained for the entire trip to Colchester, non-stop!

The Dodge owned by Merlin made short shrift of the snow and we were soon on the outskirts of Colchester and diverting to the home of another Star Warrior family to pick up more friends and kit for the day's event. At Ace Comics, we were met by Harry 'Aitch' Fielder, the staff and owners before the shop opened and we set to getting our photos out. Jeff Collett was nominated as our 'Guest Bitch'. for which I must thank him profusely! Coffee, heater, water, a fellow diabetic with stand-by supplies against low-sugar symptoms...I have never had such a solicitous and friendly 'Bitch' before! LOL.

Jeff Collett - our 'Bitch' - center, with Derek Lyons and Harry 'Aitch' Fielder.
The morning proved slightly slow, due to the bitter cold outdoors, but we did have a lot of fun with the families who came in, as the kids interacted with the Star Warriors and filed in to see Dark Santa. We had brought giveaways with us to give to the children, which were well received and we also offered to sign them for a pound for the charity. I also sold my bookmarks for £2.50 for charity. As time went by, the money started to accumulate and we three signers had a lot of laughs along the way. As I always say, you can't get actors together without lots of laughter! Aitch was in his usual good form and Derek played the joker, as usual.

Merlin, as Boba Fett with Rijn behind.

Happy visitors.
As the morning wore on, we started to hear that the snow was falling heavily back in London and making it's way North-Eastwards towards Colchester. By lunchtime another 6 inches had fallen in London and it was mooted that we might have to pack up early to make sure we could get back to south London. We stopped for lunch at 12.30 and had a very nice meal provided for everyone and caught up with those who had been out and about in the streets pulling in the visitors and collecting for the charity. It was already bitterly cold and my compliments and sympathy go to all those out and about collecting in that cold weather!!!

As it turned out, the snow was getting worse and so we were asked to pack up and make an early departure to try and beat the weather. I rapidly signed about 20 - 25 photos for Harry to carry on selling for charity, as he had to get to the North of London, which was not affected so badly by the snow. A presentation was made outside the shop, just as the snow started to hit Colchester. I believe the check was for about £1700 already collected, so we were all very happy.

The presentation of the cheque to the charity by Merlin Gard.
The journey back with Merlin and Rijn did take a very long time, but thanks to Merlin's excellent knowledge of back doubles, we made the trip in reasonably good time, considering the weather! My especial thanks for that!

So, although the weather did it's best to stump us, we managed to do a little to help and we all look forward to another opportunity in better weather to come back and support these wonderfully friendly and seriously generous new friends!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A Private Signing at the British Film Institute, 29th November 2010

I drove to Derek Lyons' house to meet up and travel together to central London, in order to meet up with two really nice collectors - Gary Hanson from Seattle and Graham Hughes from London.

Gary and Graham had previously been to Collectormania, but as neither Derek nor I were attending, they arranged to meet us privately. We also met up with Ted Western and enjoyed a relaxed and very enjoyable day of chat and drinks at the Waterfront Cafe of the BMI. Before we knew it, we realised we had been chatting away for four hours! But that was no hardship in such pleasant and relaxed company!!!

Myself with Derek Lyons, Gary Hanson, Ted Western and Graham Hughes at the BFI, London.