A surprise from another galaxy for Ashton youngster
Tuesday 16th May 2017 @ 11:28 by Adam Higgins
Ashton News

A man from Ashton has dressed up as a popular movie character to surprise a young boy who is suffering from cancer.

For several months, Damian Harvey has been getting kitted out as a Stormtrooper from the Star Wars franchise to visit ill children, helping to raise money for charity to support them, and going to Comic Cons across the country to bring some excitement to fans.

His latest mission was to pay a visit to five-year-old Jacob Dutton at his Buxton Avenue home in Hazelhurst, immediately after he came out of hospital.

Jacob, who is a Year One pupil at Inspire Academy, was diagnosed with high-risk stage four Neuroblastoma in March and has a large tumour in his stomach but is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which is going well.

Whilst resting at home one afternoon, it certainly came as a pleasant surprise to the youngster when a Stormtrooper from the Galactic Empire came knocking at his door.

“It was a nice surprise for him and he had a big smile from ear to ear for all of the time I was there,” Damian told the Reporter.

“He is a big fan of Star Wars like me. He was brilliant and an awesome lad. He loved it. That’s what it’s all about, to see how much it means to them.

“I managed to get tickets to a fun day at Burnley Football Club to mark the 40th anniversary since the start of the franchise, so I went with Jacob and his mum.

“People gave up time to sign autographs for him and gave him presents – it was an amazing day.”

Pair of Stormtroopers: Damian (left) and Jacob (right) dressed in their Star Wars costumes and armed with their weapons

It came about after mum Hazel became aware of Damian’s exploits through a friend and arranged the visit because of Jacob’s avid interest in Star Wars.

“He was very surprised – it was a complete surprise for him,” Hazel said. “He was very quiet at first but he was smiling and upbeat and it lifted his spirits.

“It was really good for Damian to come to see him. We were invited to a Star Wars convention in Burnley too so he had a really nice day, got some Darth Vader toys and had lots of pictures taken. He really loved it and had a smile on his face all day long.

“Jacob is a big Star Wars fan. He has got the costume and toys and he has seen all of the films.”

Damian, a CCTV operator for a private firm in Ashton, has been fanatical about the epic American space opera series for many years and his obsession has only grown since he spotted something on social media, which made him channel his inner soldier for a worthwhile cause.

“I am a big Star Wars fan, I have been for a long time. I came across a Star Wars page on Facebook and I was intrigued so I clicked on it and saw people dressing up as characters to surprise others,” said the 47-year-old father-of-one.

“I really wanted a costume myself so I saved up and got an expensive one. I didn’t care how much it cost because it’s not about the money. It’s about the poorly kids who really need their spirits lifting during a tough time.

“It has kicked off massively in a few months. I’ve been collecting helmets and costumes since. I have two full size costumes and R2-D2 helmets so I have a bit of a collection now.

“I’ll put the gear on, which can take about 30 or 40 minutes, and I visit people at their houses if they get touch and ask me to come and I go to Comic Cons, walk around and stop for people to have a photo with me and I’ll speak to them about what I do.

“I’ve seen a few children around Tameside – the parents get more excited than the kids sometimes! But it’s all about the kids and raising money for different charities.”

If you would like Damian to surprise a Star Wars fan you know in full Stormtrooper mode, give him a call on 07716 952420 or leave a message on his Star Wars Helmet Head Hunters page on Facebook. After all, he isn’t in a galaxy far, far away…


Main picture:

Surprise: Jacob with his mum Hazel and Damian, dressed as a Star Wars Stormtrooper