Comics, games and Daleks help make festival a huge success

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Two businessmen from Leighton Buzzard held the area’s very first comic, movie and gaming one-day festival at Brooklands Middle School.

It was an enormous success and tickets sold out in absolutely no time at all, with over 1,000 people attending.

The event raised £1,201.29 for Autism Bedfordshire, a local charity which provides much-needed services for both adults and children who are on the autistic spectrum. The funds were raised through donations on the day, along with ticket sales.

The fundraiser was organised by Steve Thewis, a freelance photographer and digital artist, and Ricky Bryans, owner of the Retro Centre, a shop based in Leighton Buzzard that sells all kinds of retro toys, collectibles, video games, consoles and lots more.

Together they spent over a year developing and planning the day and making sure that there was plenty to see and do for everyone.

The list of attractions included the Ecto 1 car from Ghostbusters, Lightening McQueen, Pete the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Cosplay, Superman, Batman, Captain Jack Sparrow and a team of very naughty Storm Troopers who were last seen on the bouncy castle.

Other sights included a selection of beautiful creatures from Wriggles (a neighbouring exotic pet store), some very sinister looking Daleks and at one point the local police and fire crew came by to check everyone was behaving themselves.

Independent stall holders came along on the day selling sci-fi and fantasy games, toys, figurines and much more.

For the eager signature collector, famous guests included John Coppinger, Richard Padbury, Toby Philpott and Trevor Butterfield.

The school gym proved the ideal location for the retro-gaming area where both the children and the grown-ups could be heard zapping aliens and cleansing planet earth of unwanted visitors!

Emma Reade, CEO of Autism Bedfordshire, said: “We cannot thank Steve and Ricky enough. The funds they have raised, and the awareness they have created for Autism Bedfordshire, will go a long way towards helping us ensure we can continue to provide vital services to those who need them.”

Steve Thewis said: “We’re really pleased that all of our hard work and effort has paid off.

“We’re delighted that so many people came along and that everyone had a great time. The event was such a success that we’ll be doing it all over again next year!”

Keep an eye on www.retroplayfestival.com for news about next year’s event.

To find out more about Autism Bedfordshire visit www.autismbedfordshire.net