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Star Wars' Mark Hamill makes brave Jamie's dream come true

By Claire Williamson and Donna Deeney

They say never meet your heroes - but that couldn't be further from the truth for one brave teenager from Northern Ireland who had breakfast with Star Wars' Luke Skywalker.

Jamie Harkin (17) from Londonderry was diagnosed in June 2011 with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and suffered a relapse in January 2013.

Having rallied after that setback, the teen has again been seriously ill since January this year.

A Star Wars fan since he was three, Jamie dreamed of one day meeting his heroes - but as they're usually in a galaxy far, far away, that seemed impossible.

Howver, he got the surprise of his life yesterday morning as Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker himself - joined him for breakfast at Donegal's Redcastle Hotel.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity after Hamill, Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) turned up in the county to film the latest instalment in the science fiction epic.

The determined teen runs Jamie's Journie, a community to help those in the north west suffering from cancer, and has raised more than £15,000.

He has arranged unforgettable experiences for many young people - but with his heroes so close by filming Star Wars Episode VIII, Jamie's mum Patricia thought it was time something was done for him.

She launched an online appeal to get the actors' attention using the hashtag #StarWarsForJJ on social media. And on Saturday she got the call she had been hoping for to say a meeting was going to happen.

Jamie had no idea what was happening and got the shock of his life as Hamill walked in. Posting on his social media page afterwards, Jamie said he couldn't believe it had happened, and said both he and the Hollywood star had been reduced to tears.

Hamill also found time to pop into Farren's bar in Malin, where owner Hugh Farren - a huge Star Wars fan - thought he was dreaming when the Jedi Master asked for a quick photograph beside the Yoda mural he had commissioned on the side of his pub. "He was very relaxed and said he would love to come back, and I hope next time he can stay a while longer," said Hugh.

Indeed, Hamill was quick to acknowledge his disappointment at not being able to have a few pints in the bar with Hugh and his customers as he took to Twitter, where he wrote: "Sorry I couldn't stay longer. Forgot 2 order a #GuinnessToGo but sadly I have 2 work in the morning."

John McCandless, a member of a local camera club, was left stunned when the star used his photograph of Malin Head at sunset with the Millennium Falcon in the foreground as the header picture in his Twitter account.

John said it's a story he will tell his grandchildren - and, in the meantime, anyone else who will listen!

He said: "I haven't come down to Earth yet and I don't expect I will anytime soon.

"He liked my photo tweet, which I was blown away by, but shortly after that he had my picture as his header on his Twitter account and gave me credit.

"For an amateur photographer, it doesn't get any better."

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