THOUSANDS of sci-fi fanatics turned out in force for a popular annual fundraising event in Colchester.

Invasion Colchester saw fans descend on the town centre on Saturday, as well as super heroes, villains and a whole host of sci-fi characters.

The event was first set up in 2011 by Simon Leonard to raise money to support pioneering lung treatment, which saved his life.

Since then, the event has raised thousands of pounds for charities, including St Helena Hospice and the Colchester Hospitals charity.

Organiser Kerrie Williams said: “It was utterly bonkers – the town was absolutely rammed.

“We had the Blue Brothers singing, zombies walking around, Star Wars characters, Star Trek, Superman and Batman – it was a magical day.”

The fundraising included events at Firstsite, Ace comics, Xtreme gaming, Lion Walk and Culver shopping centres.

The highlight of the event was appearances from a number of special movie guests, including Nick Joseph and Ralph Morse, who appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy, and Harry Potter death eater Jon Campling.

Mr Morse, who lives in Colchester, said: “Invasion Colchester is a unique event on the sci-fi calendar because it happens in the town with all the re-enactors moving around with the public, enjoying the event.

“It’s a fantastic day and raises money for a series of great causes.”

There was also live music and a chance to see some star cars, including the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee and Starsky and Hutch’s Gran Torino.

Mum Kirsten Adams, from Colchester, took her children Cameron, eight, and Abbie, four, to meet some of the characters.

She said: “I think it’s amazing. It was surprising to see so many characters in the town.

“It was a wonderful atmosphere and great to see so many people turn up in costume.

“My son loves Star Wars, so it was fantastic for him.”