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Darth Vader joins herd of Elmers to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice

PUBLISHED: 12:34 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:34 05 July 2019

Darth Vader with, from left to right; Clare Peck, centre administrator for Sailmakers Shopping Centre and Tracey Sawkins with Caitlin Gowing (back). Picture: WARREN PAGE

Darth Vader with, from left to right; Clare Peck, centre administrator for Sailmakers Shopping Centre and Tracey Sawkins with Caitlin Gowing (back). Picture: WARREN PAGE

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Star Wars nemesis Darth Vader joined a herd of Elmer-inspired young elephants to help raise vital funds for young people living with progressive and terminal illnesses.

Star Wars nemesis Darth Vader greeted shoppers at the One Great Day event at Sailmakers Shopping Centre. Picture: WARREN PAGEStar Wars nemesis Darth Vader greeted shoppers at the One Great Day event at Sailmakers Shopping Centre. Picture: WARREN PAGE

The iconic characters were on-hand at Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich for their annual One Great Day event, raising money for Zest - St Elizabeth Hospice's support service for teenagers and young adults - and for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

They were joined by Woolly Pully, St Elizabeth Hospice's mascot, and a herd of young elephants inspired by the popular children's book character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant at the busy shopping centre, which is a major host for the charity's Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk initiative.

The elephants have been designed and created by primary and secondary schools and youth organisations across Ipswich.

Also on hand on Saturday, June 29 was Sailmakers' own Elmer, Ladyphant, and also the Golden Elmer Treasure Trunk, sponsored by Shirley Shelly Cleaners.

Among the shoppers getting involved in the festivities was Dovile Venckauskaide, who lives in Ipswich, whose children Jasmin Cantarelli, seven, and Gabriel Cantarelli, five, enjoyed getting their faces painted.

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"It's wonderful when there are days like this raising money for children and a good cause," she said.

"My little boy was afraid of the characters dressed up but my daughter absolutely loved it. I think she gave Spiderman a high five.

"It's something different that they don't get to do every day and it's really nice to be able to donate to the charity.

"My daughter understood that she was helping other young people by donating."

Jasmine, who attends Whitehouse Primary School, added: "I had my face painted like a dolphin with glitter and my brother had a vampire face. He looked really scary on the bus on the way home.

"I donated some coins as I like to help other children. I liked Spiderman the best and gave him a high five. It was really fun."

One Great Day is held at 140 shopping centres across the UK every year to raise money for Great Ormond Street children's hospital and good causes local to the centres, like Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice.

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