Here I have documented key events from the build to current date. Sadly I don't have as much time to attend events as I used to but do try to get to events with my Astromechs as spare time allows.
This was the first event, the build of R2D2. Unfortunately I did not document the build as I was too engrossed in what I was doing to take photos, apart from this one. Nothing much to look at but it gives you an idea of the structure inside my R2.
This is the first time anyone got to see my completed R2. From left to right, Robert, My Godson Jakob, My Sons Luke & Joel. After two years of building, outgrowing my workshop and having to demolish it to build another, it was all worth while. Behind all this is my very understanding Wife!
My first proper event was taking R2 to my Sons Cub Group, 8th Ashford. I did a talk on the build and tried to make them realise if you're determined enough to achieve something, almost anything is possible. Little did I know a few years later what this would all lead to for me!
Next up was my first invite from the Rebel Legion. Star Wars the Musical was due to go on tour and the o2 in London wanted to take some promotional shots. In attendence was a number of Storm Troopers, Rebels & my R2D2. Getty Images were taking the photos at the time and some of the shots are available to purchase (at a price) still to this day.
This was an event at The Movieum along the South Bank in London. It was a costuming day for all groups to attend including The Rebel Legion, UK Garrison, Ghostbusters & Movie Cars amongst others.
This is from the actual event that I was promotoing a few days (and a few cards) previous. Star Wars The Musical. I was in attendance entertaining the visitors to the o2 with the Rebel Legion & UK Garrison. The show itself is worth a look if it ever tours again. This tour was narrated live by Anthony Daniels & conducted by Dirk Brossé, both photographed backstage after the event with my R2D2.
Being the Dad of two boys who both went to our local Primary School had it's 'cool factor' benifits at the time. This is the School Summer Fayre where one of the Rebel Legion guys (Dave Clarke) kindly helped me out with my Mum. This was one of the main reason I had in mind when originally building R2 and what I would actually do with him. It is always good to work for local organisations and other good causes to help raise awareness and a hopefully a few extra pound coins in the collection bucket.
This is my eldest Son, Luke at the controls of R2D2. Luke has never been big on attending Comic Con events but the promise of driving R2 around all day seemed to have the desired effect and he joined me on this occasion.
My first Dream Flight event at a hotel near Heathrow Airport. The Rebel Legion have supported this cause for a number of years. Every year a British Airways plane is chartered to take poorly children to Disney World for two weeks without their parents. Not only an exciting time for the children but a well earned break for their parents. A carer is assigned to each child and the night before evertone flys they have a night over at a hotel where we are on hand with various other activities to entertain the children and help them settle before their big adventure.
This was an event in Central London to promote the computer game The Old Republic by Lucas Arts. This was the early stages of the game where there was only one small playable part of the game. It was very well received at the time.
I was invited by the UK Garrison to attend the turning on of the Christmas Lights in my local shopping centre in Kingston Upon Thames. It was very well attended but a slight dissapointment when we discovered the lights were not Star Wars themed at all. We were their just to pull in the crowd which did seem to work and was an enjoyable event, all the same.
Star Wars The Musical came back to the o2 for the Easter Holidays. My youngest son Joel ame along to this event and operated R2 for most of the time and managed not to run a single person over! Anthony Daniels was narrating again and Joel & I were fortunate enough to be allowed in to see the show.
This was one of the first events that I was invited directly by Lucas Arts to attend to help promote the launch of The Force Unleashed II. The UK Garrison were in attendence as well. The day was spent entertaining the press including R2 being interviewed by IGN and various other You Tube Channels.
This is, I believe the first meeting of the UK R2 Builders Group. This was at MK Dons Football Stadium where the CollectorMania event use to be held. We went on to attend this event as a group every year up until the last event held there which was in 2014.
I was talking to Kenny Baker & his Lady Friend at MK Collector Mania and they mentioned that she could not make it down to the next event. Simon Battell kindly offered to look after Kenny and help out as we were going there. I helped Simon out on the day and this was me with Kenny behind his stall. He was in good form as always and kept us entertained with his stories throughout the day.
Make a Wish foundation have a charity event in central London every year. There are a number of activities to keep the children entertained including the prescence of the Rebel Legion and UK Garrison.
This is my youngest son Joel with R2 at Earls Court for another Comic con event. Joel did a lot of the driving up until we had a catastrophic failure with the middle foot wheel. We were just about to drive over to meet Kenny Baker when the wheel completely sheered off causing R2 to almost go into a face plant. This all happened right in front of Kenny and I was left with the shame of picking up the front of R2 and dragging him out of the way! It happens to the best of us!
This was a week before my first filming job with my R2. Thanks to a recommmendation from Dave Clarke of the Rebel Legion, Mary Franklin approached Oliver Steeples & myself to see if we could help out with a TV advertising campaign. The week before filming took place I was asked to attend a photographic studio for a couple of days to have some promotional photos taken. I had no idea who the photographer was until I walked into the studio, asking if my contact was around. I was greated by a voice saying "It's not them you need to see, it's me who's the boss around here"! Thankfully I am into photography enough to recognise the legend himself, David Bailey. Anthony Daniels was C3P0 for the shoot and this has to be up there with one of my most enjoyable things I have done with R2.
We took over a Currys Superstore in Lakeside, Thurrock for 5 days to shoot this advert. Both Olivers & My R2 was used throughout the advert (we can point out who's is who's in each scene! It's available to view on this website on my 'Adverts' page. In this shot I am setting up my R2 for a two legged shot. We didn't use a small person in R2, we had a rod bolted on to each leg and myself and one of the other crew members pupeteered R2 by rocking it from side to side. The rods were then digitally removed and it looks pretty good on screen!
The Rebel Legion invited me to join them at the Science Centre in Winchester for there family fun weekend. It's a great place to visit and every now and again the Rebel Legion & UK Garrison still attend events here.
Much like the David Bailey shoot, Oliver was busy working so I was called in to help launch the Currys Advert at Currys HQ in Hemel Hampstead. R2 was a surprise guest so all the staff were called into the room first and then R2 made his grand entrance. The Advert was received well and the photo opportunity was well used by all members of staff.
The public Currys Launch was help at the place we shot the Advert, Lakeside Thurrock. The Rebel Legion & UK Garrison were in attendance along with three R2D2s, from left to right, Simon Battell, Oliver Steeples & Myself.
If you were in a Currys Store around the time of the Advert being aired you may well have seen me and my R2 around! I was travelling the UK from top to bottom, visiting Currys Stores at weekends. This perticular shot was taken in Glasgow where I was also there for the opening of the store. The most memorable part of that day was the store managers name...... Felix Rocks!
As a continuation of R2s Currys appearences we attended the AGM held for all Store Managers across the UK. The key appearence was R2 coming out at the start of the main event with Darth Vader & a couple of Storm Troopers on the stage shown in this picture. I was hid away in the wings which was R2s starting point. I had to drive down the stage, navigate the circle at the end and then eventually return after the MD had said a few words. This was one of my most nerve racking experiences as I was poorly sighted with very little light and no monitors to work from. Thankfully it all went without a hitch!
One of the more unusual venues I have been to with R2 is the London Stock Exchange. This, yet again was for Currys and one of their quarterly reports which I vaguely recollect wasn't the greatest of reports so maybe they invited R2 along to distract from the figures!
Another Legoland Windsor Star Wars weekend. This was my second year at Legoland and as always was well attended and R2 had many photos taken. Thasnkfully we have spotters at these higher profile events as a child decided to lift R2s head off the body. Thankfully the spotter was more aware than I was with what was happening and he managed to retrieve the dome out of the childs hands before any damage was done.
Oliver & I shared a weeks appearence at The Gadget Show Live at Birmingham NEC where we were promoting Currys yet again. This is myself with Ortis, one of the presenters of the TV Show.
Elstree Studios held an Anniversary event, inviting many celebrities who had worked at the studios along with a Star Wars representation by the Rebel Legion, UK Garrison plus Oliver & Myself. Rather than have two R2D2s at the event, I swapped my dome and utility arms to make R2 look more like R5-D4.
While working at Gadget Show Live, one of the presenters, Jason Bradbury asked me to help him out with a charity event in London. I obliged and this is the event which was raising funds for a robot to perform operations. The robot was named Pluto and enough funds have now been raised and the robot is working it's miracles. This photo shows another Gadget Shgow presenter at the time called Polyanna Woodward.
~R2 is here in attendance with the Rebel Legion at Marwell Zoo for a charity night. The Zoo was also open to people attending the event but unfortunately the weather was so bad, most guests stayed indoors to stay dry so we were left to entertain the guests. I met a guy called Giles who was with his Autistic Son. Giles was so impressed with my R2 build he decided to join the R2 builders and make one for himself. He has now finished his R2 and is currently attending more events than any of us other R2 Builders.