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Star Wars comes to Waltham Forest

Star Wars becomes Star Walls as Waltham Forest prepares for an out-of-this-world event celebrating the work of a former Leytonstone resident, whose work helped shape the intergalactic saga’s original trilogy.

On Saturday, 12 December, Grove Green Road will be invaded by Stormtroopers and other costumed-characters from the iconic film franchise as Waltham Forest Council unveils Star Wars inspired wall murals and installs a blue heritage plaque on the former home of Stuart Freeborn, the British make-up artist renowned for his contributions to the popular films.

Just days before the 17 December cinematic release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the plaque unveiling will be the main attraction in a free event featuring all-things Star Wars.

As part of the celebrations, specially-commissioned Star Wars-themed murals created by urban artists Wood Street Walls will be revealed to the public for the first time.

The free afternoon event, which starts at 1.15pm outside The Heathcote Arms, will also include Star Wars themed talks, an art exhibition and family activities – and refreshments will be provided. In addition, there will be a screening of 'From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga' and 'Attack of the Aliens!' from 4pm to 6pm.

Credited as the man who created Yoda – after modelling the Jedi master’s appearance on Albert Einstein and his own features – Freeborn was born in Leytonstone in 1914, and grew up in Grove Green Road.

The Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “Forget a galaxy far, far away, Stuart Freeborn was born right here in Leytonstone, and we hope this event is a fitting tribute to the man who played a key role in what went on to become one of the biggest film franchises of all time.

“Many of us grew up watching characters he created like Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and Yoda on the big screen, and with the next instalment in the Star Wars saga almost upon us there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate the life and work of a truly great talent.”

Stuart Freeborn, who did some of his most celebrated work for 2001: A Space Odyssey, died in February 2013 at the age of 98.

For more information, and to let us know you’re coming to the free Star Wars celebration, visit

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