Star Wars craft lands in Leeds family’s back garden

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It is a dramatic fighter spacecraft that can take on anything the Galactic Empire throws at it in global film franchise Star Wars.

But strip back the special effects and swap the cinematic setting for a Leeds back garden and an X-Wing remains equally impressive.

Craig Ibbotson pictured with his X-Wing fighter at his home at Middleton. PIC: Simon Hulme

Craig Ibbotson pictured with his X-Wing fighter at his home at Middleton. PIC: Simon Hulme

Kirsty Jackson and Craig Ibbotson, from Middleton, got the ‘spacecraft’ from a television and film extra acquaintance in April this year.

The couple have temporarily put up the X-Wing in their garden on Helston Square, on three separate occasions, much to the delight of their children Matthew, 17, Cody, 16, Alfie, 13, Harry, eight, and Ronnie, five.

Miss Jackson, 36, said: “My kids love Star Wars. They think this is absolutely great. The little ones really think Star Wars has landed and they’re going to take off.

“We have had children from all over the estate come to look and take pictures.

Craig Ibbotson pictured with his X Wing Fighter at His home at Middleton, Leeds...21st June 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Craig Ibbotson pictured with his X Wing Fighter at His home at Middleton, Leeds...21st June 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

“People have been pulling up in their cars to see it, especially when it is lit up at night. We’ve even had e-mails about it from Star Wars fans in the USA.”

They believe the cockpit element dates back to the 1970s and may have featured in 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. The nose, back and wings were thought to have been made at a later date.

Mr Ibbotson, 41, said: “The paint on [the cockpit] was discontinued in the 80s.”

The couple say they hope to use the X-Wing to raise money and aim to get enough cash to create a play area and picnic space for disabled children in Middleton.

They are asking anyone with ideas on how it could be used to fundraise to contact them by calling 0113 271 7981.

Miss Jackson said: “It can be too overwhelming in a normal park for these children so this would make a lot of difference.” Mr Ibbotson added: “It would be a safe place they could access to play.”

Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, made Keighley his home for several years.

Special effects expert Umar Hussain, who was a line producer on The Last Jedi, grew up in Calverley.

In the 2011 Government census, 2,812 people in Leeds put down their religion as Jedi Knight.

In 2017, a Star Wars themed York Maze, made by farmer Tom Pearcy, was believed to be the world’s biggest Star Wars fan art ever created.