MAY the force be with you - Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium was invaded by characters from Star Wars at the weekend.

Crowds of noisy children playing on the hands-on exhibits fell silent as Darth Vader, Storm Troopers and Rebel Pilots marched in.

But there were no battle scenes. Instead, members of the 501st UK Garrison happily posed for pictures with fans of all ages.

Among them was four-year-old William MacOnochie who shook hands with Darth Vader. His mum, Ruth MacOnochie, a nurse from Salisbury, said: “Darth Vader is William’s hero. He loves him. He has been following him around all afternoon.”

Also star-struck were the Duffy family from Woodlands Road in Totton. Andrea Duffy, 41, visited the centre with her boat builder husband Lee and sons Dylan, six and Mikey, four, on Saturday (April 12).

Mrs Duffy said: “We all like Star Wars. We were going to come anyway but this was a bonus. When all the characters walked in the whole place stopped. It went really quiet. It was brilliant. My lads loved it.”

The centre, which is open seven days a week, is operating a free shuttle bus from Monday to Friday in the Easter holidays. It stops outside St John’s House in The Broadway and Parking Area Seven of St Catherine’s Park and Ride.

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