Star Paws: Mandurah family gives a New Hope to guide dogs

May 2017 is a special month for Star Wars fans: not only does  Star Wars Day fall on May 4, it’s also the 40th anniversary of the film that started the whole thing, Star Wars, aka A New Hope, aka Episode VI.

There’s no better time to celebrate the greatest sci-fi series ever, while also raising some funds for charity.

Mandurah’s Dining in the Dark – the local event charity aimed at raising funds for Guide Dogs WA – will host a Star Wars extravaganza on May 27.

Held at Reading Cinemas, the event will include a screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a very special visit by the nation’s pre-eminent Star Wars cosplayers, the 501st Legion, as well as their galactic enemies in the Rebel Legion Wraith Base.

Raffles, competitions and Guide Dogs WA merchandise will all be on the go as well.

The event has been organised by Sharon Patterson and her daughter Ayesha, who as well as having a guide dog, is a die-hard Star Wars fan.

“Getting the 501st Legion to come down to Mandurah is just awesome,” Sharon said.

“It’s usually a Perth thing, but we’re from Mandurah, and we’ve held some really great events through Dining in the Dark already here. We don’t want Mandurah to miss out.”

The amount of effort the mother-daughter pair have put into the event shows how much it means to them.

“It costs about $35,000 dollars just to train one guide dog,” Ms Patterson said.

“Obviously being a client we have a reason to support Guide Dogs WA, but any amount of support they can get is great.”

Ms Patterson is hoping a good turnout from the local community will show both how important guide dogs are to those who need them, as well as just how big  Star Wars nerd community there is.

“We actually had to go to LucasArts to get permission to use the film,” Ms Patterson said.

‘We want everyone to dress up as their favourite characters. With the 501st Legion there, and with how much we know people love getting in to this sort of thing, it should be really good.”

For more information, go to the A New Hope for Guide Dogs Facebook event page.

Sharon, Ayesha and guide dog Birdie will also run a series of Star Wars-themed silent auctions in the lead-up to the event: keep an eye on these at their Dining in the Dark Facebook page.

Tickets for the event are available through

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