Stars Wars fan feels the force to meet Darth Vader after 34 years

Daniel Nugent with Dave Prowse
Daniel Nugent with Dave Prowse

A life-long Star Wars fan from Bedford got to meet his hero for a second time - 34 years after they first met.

Daniel Nugent first met Dave Prowse - the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films and the Green Cross Code Man in a series of road safety films, at Wembley Arena in 1983, when he was aged 8.

Now a 43-year-old father of three, Daniel met Dave after winning a Green Cross code colouring competition, with the prize of a Raleigh Burner bicycle - which he has treasured ever since. He met the actor when he was presented with his prize after being invited back to Wembley.

Danniel recalls his first meeting with his hero: “I remember it well because it’s a massive impact on my whole childhood – Star Wars just took over my life. I don’t even support a football team because I got into Star Wars!” It was at the time when Return of the Jedi was being released.

He said: “We went to the greenroom as soon as we got there, all nervous and there was my picture on the board. All of a sudden Dave came in, dressed as the Green Cross Code Man. Straight away he was fantastic and he made us all feel at ease.” Dave presented Daniel with his prize bike and their photograph was taken.

The experience was enough to turn a childhood fandom in a life-long passion for Daniel who added: “Since meeting him I’ve kept that bike in the best condition that I can and I’ve always treasured it, being a Star Wars fan. Imagine meeting Darth Vader before Return of the Jedi came out!”

Daniel had the chance to meet Dave again when he attended an EM-Con convention held at the University of Bedfordshire during September.

He said: “I saw a banner go up and I saw a picture of Darth Vader and thought it was too good to be true. When I got home and looked EM-Con up on the internet, I thought ‘Dave Prowse! No way!’ I couldn’t believe it.

“I thought, this has just got to be done, I’ve still got the bike, if I could just get together with him and try and have that moment again that will be fantastic.”

After meeting Dave all those years later, Daniel had the opportunity to recreate the photograph with his Raleigh Burner.

He said: “It was an emotional day. I read a few days ago he’s retiring and in three months time he’s out of the public eye. For me it put closure on everything, it’s something that had to be done, meeting him again. 1983 was a huge moment in my life; it was brilliant meeting him again, especially with the bike – the two photos now side by side, it’s just amazing. I’ll treasure this moment now forever, I’m really happy with what happened. I’m glad EM-Con came to Bedford!”