Eldredge’s brother, Amesbury Police crime prevention officer Thomas Hanshaw marshaled to the event the Star Wars 501st New England Garrison, a costuming organization focusing on Star Wars characters. The group spends 52 weeks out of the year attending charitable events.
This group of the dark side of the Force characters drew a crowd in Amesbury this weekend.
Member, Krista Carmichael, who came to Amesbury from the Death Star via Waltham, was doing laps as a Stormtrooper.
“My husband calls this, ‘Sweating to the Empire,’” Carmichael said with a laugh. “It’s a great workout program to benefit everyone. And I would say that Darth Vader right now is about as hot as (fictional planet) Tatooine.”
Inside the Vader costume was Carmichael’s husband, Sean.
“Inside all the costumes, kids have one of two reactions,” said Sean Carmichael. “They either run up and hug you, or they are terrified and five minutes later are mad that they are leaving because they still want to hang out with us. Adults seem to be more afraid of us than kids. I’ve had grown men and women cower and run away.”
Amesbury High School junior, Lydia Mercier was relaying with her school’s newspaper, the AHS Weekly.
“It’s a good way to give back to our community, it’s a good cause,” she said. “It’s a great thing that everyone can do. It’s really fun.”
Mercier’s fellow high school classmate, Antonio Gonzalez, was in the middle of his many laps.
“It’s awesome here,” Gonzalez said. “My friend is a ten-year survivor of brain cancer. Her relay was a few weeks ago. I wasn’t able to make that but I was able to make this one.”
Kate Donlin of Newburyport belonged to the team the “Golfing Grandfathers” in honor of her father and stepfather who both lost their battle to cancer.