COLCHESTER sci-fi fans have been taking their kids to a very special festive grotto – with Darth Vader, Princess Leia and other Star Wars characters as the main attraction, instead of Santa.

Ace Comics, in Culver Street East, Colchester, offered customers the chance to meet the sci-fi characters as an alternative to traditional Christmas treats.

Kerrie Williams, manager, explained: “Because we’re a comic shop, we can sometimes be a bit silly. The kids have loved going in and seeing the fantasy characters. They pay a small fee and get a present from the store.”

Money raised by the grotto will be donated to the charity, Action on Pre-eclampsia.

Ace Comics has also donated £1,292 to St Helena Hospice and Colchester Hospitals Charity after raising it with an event in September called Invasion Colchester.