May the Force be with Keith

Sci-fi collector Keith Lawler, of  Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, who is organising a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
Sci-fi collector Keith Lawler, of Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, who is organising a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
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SUNDERLAND sci-fi buff Keith Lawler is getting ready to take his collection across the country.

The 44-year-old’s house is overrun with everything from action figures and costumes, to comics and signed pictures.

Andrew Lawler, nine, of Finsbury Streert, Monklwearmouth Sunderland wit some of his fathers Keith's sci-fi collection which will part of a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Andrew Lawler, nine, of Finsbury Streert, Monklwearmouth Sunderland wit some of his fathers Keith's sci-fi collection which will part of a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Also a huge Doctor Who fan, the dad-of-two has even built his own life-size Dalek, which he admits is a little too big to keep around the house.

After being introduced to Star Wars as a nine-year-old, he began collecting anything and everything that he could get his hands on.

Over the last few years he has got together with pals to run Scifair, a fair for collectors, which he takes across the country.

And he’s kicking off this year’s run of events at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery next month.

Carrie Anbne Lawler, six, of Finsbury Streert, Monklwearmouth Sunderland wit some of his fathers Keith's sci-fi collection which will part of a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Carrie Anbne Lawler, six, of Finsbury Streert, Monklwearmouth Sunderland wit some of his fathers Keith's sci-fi collection which will part of a Sci-fi collectors event at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

The event, on March 30, will see sci-fi and fantasy fanatics descend on gallery to share and sell some of the things they’ve collected over the years.

Keith said: “We’re trying to bring back the classic collectors fairs and attract bring-and-buy dealers to come along and share their collections with others.

“People can bring along, or come and buy all sorts of things, like trading cards, comics, toys, and pretty much anything as long as it’s sci-fi -related.

“It’s great for all us geeks to get together, dress up in our costumes, and share our collections.

“We do a lot of these events in places like museums and it’s a great way to get people coming along – if there’s aliens and Stormtroopers stood outside, it’s bound to bring a few people in.”

Keith, who lives in Monkwearmouth, said he loves sharing the experience with his children, Andrew, nine, and Carrieanne, six, who have caught the sci-fi bug.

He said: “I started collecting things when I was about nine, and I just completely got caught up in the genre, and I think it’s brilliant that my kids love it too.

“We love going along to events like Scifair dressed up in our costumes together. We have a lot of fun.

“That’s the best part for me – seeing the looks on kids’ faces when you walk by them.

“One Hallowe’en, I took the kids out trick or treating and I was in my full Stormtrooper costumes – which is one of my most prized possessions – and we walked past a house where a little boy was looking out of the window and his jaw was on the floor.

“He came running out of the house, right up to me, and said, ‘are you real?’ It was just fantastic.”

l Scifair is at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on March 30.

It runs from 12pm to 3.30pm. Tables for dealers, who can arrive from 11am, cost £12.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Keith through the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/scifairuk, or call 549 9350.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho