IT might not have been a galaxy far, far away, but South Tyneside was the centre of the universe for Star Wars fans at the weekend.
The force was strong as science fiction buffs packed into Hebburn Community Centre for SciFair Empire Day on Saturday.
An array of comic books, toys, trading cards and books inspired by the George Lucas film franchise were on display.
And a host of Star Wars icons including Hans Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and imperial stormtroopers were brought to life by members of the North East-based Universal Alliance.
The collectors’ fair came just a month after organiser Keith Lawler held another out-of-this-world event inspired by both Star Wars and Doctor Who at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
The latter event also raised funds for the Stroke Association, with a raffle and a portion of the table-hire fees charged going to the cause.
Dad-of-two Mr Lawler said: “We have had stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Princess Leia all here.
“Everyone has had a really good time.
“We are also donating funds to the Stroke Association in conjunction with Aurora Science Fiction Club.
“The whole day is always about fun. Everyone is very happy.”
Though the Star Wars series kicked off back in 1977, the enthusiasm of youngsters dressed as Luke Skywalker and arch-nemesis Darth Vader as they did mock battle with lightsabers shows that the force remains strong in South Tyneside.
Dedicated collectors came from all over the region to seek out items of Star Wars merchandise.
Mr Lawler is already looking ahead to holding more intergalactic get-togethers next year.
He said: “We’ve already got two more events planned in Hebburn in 2014, for both the Daleks and Star Wars.
“With the new Star Wars film coming out in 2015, there will be an opportunity for more people to get involved and start to collect new toys.”
For more information, visit www.scifair.co.uk