DOCTOR WHO, R2D2, Raven and Wonder Woman’s body-double, just some of the guests heading to the city next weekend for the third Capital Sci-Fi Con.
They’ll be joined by familiar faces from TV and cinema, actors famous for playing roles such as Boba Fett in Star Wars, Davros, the creator of the Daleks and Game of Thrones’ Baristan Selmy along with some of the best known comic artists and writers.
Taking up residence in its new home at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, on Newmarket Road, the two-day event is the brainchild of Keith Armour who, once again, has pledged to donate all profits raised to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), a charity offering a full family support service for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions.
Explaining how the annual event began, Keith reflects, “CHAS will always hold a special place in my heart.
“I first visited the CHAS Hospice Rachel House with The Rebel Legion, a volunteer group that brings together Star Wars costuming enthusiasts with the key objective of giving back to the community.”
He continues, “After what had been a very difficult few years in my life, the fund-raising and giving back element become a priority for me.
“I had lost a number of close family members, was dealt two redundancies and my three-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“Inspired by the families I met at Rachel House, I started looking at ways I could do my bit while juggling being Leah’s primary carer.
“Together with my committee, Capital Sci-Fi Con was born.”
The first event in 2016 was low-key compared with this year’s, yet even then there were signs Keith had struck gold.
“I seriously thought only 500 people would turn up that first year and the movie guests that came along were all friends I’d known through The Rebel Legion. We didn’t even set ourselves a fund-raising target.
“Now, looking back at 2017, I can’t believe how much it has all grown. 7,000 people came along last year, raising more than £75,000 for CHAS.
“This year, the movie guests attending are household names, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Ian McElhinney.”
Famous as The Doctor and Ace in Doctor Who in the Eighties, McCoy and Aldred will be reunited on the Sunday, while McElhinney is best known as Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones.
Others attending over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of February, include Raven star James Mackenzie, Jimmy Vee and Jeremy Bulloch who played R2D2 and Boba Fett respectively in Star Wars, Terry Molloy who was Davros, veteran star of stage and screen Julian Glover, and Wonder Woman body-double Cez Williams.
The event will also feature stars from the world of comics such as John Wagner, co-creator of Judge Dredd, and will boast a plethora of interactive experiences for fans to take part in.
These include prop displays, traders stalls, photo opportunities with the stars, VR and retro gaming zones, guest interview panels and Capital Sci-Fi Con’s famous cosplay competition - dress as your favourite character and you could win a prize.
“I’m so surprised by how much it has grown and think that its popularity must be down to its connection with CHAS, people know it’s for an amazing cause,” says Keith.
But it’s not just the event itself that has grown. Away from the annual gathering, Keith and his band of cosplayers, now renamed ‘causeplayers’, continue to raise funds.
“The causeplayers now consist of 150 CHAS costumed character volunteers,” he says, elaborating, “We spend a lot of our free time bucket shaking at shopping centres to raise money as well as making special visits to the hospices to meet the families.
“The looks on the children’s faces when they see Spiderman or a Stormtrooper walk in are priceless.
“Spending so much time together and doing something so worthwhile really bonds you as a group and I’ve made friendships for life through it.”
Laura Campbell, Community Fund-raiser at CHAS reveals the full extent of the impact of the Capital Sci-Fi Con fund-raising has on the charity, “To date, Keith and his team have raised £135,095.83, an out-of-this-world figure which amounts to the cost of running Rachel House for 24 days.”
Looking ahead, Keith admits, he really doesn’t know what the future holds for the event but let’s slip that there is one very special guest he would love to see attend a Capital Sci-Fi Con.
“Looking ahead at what the future holds... well the truth is I really don’t know. As long as the event still raises money for CHAS, I’m delighted.
“But I do know that my dream guest for 2019 would be Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself. So who knows what could be in store next for Capital Sci-Fi Con.”
Capital Sci-Fi Con, Edinburgh Corn Exchange, Newmarket Road, Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 February, £10 adult day pass/£5 children’s day pass (5-15 years)/£24 family day pass (2 adults 2 children)/£18 adult weekend pass/£8 children’s weekend pass/£42 family weekend pass/Under 5s go free (maximum two per parent), available on the door on the day