Darth Vader set off from Coldstream on Sunday, following the 400-mile route to London taken by English general George Monck and his Coldstream Guards in 1650.
The guards marched from Coldstream to London to restore King Charles II to the throne, and over 360 years later the Star Wars baddies, alias Gavin Harrison, is raising money for Children in Need by following in his footsteps.
At the end of the first day of Pudsey’s Imperial March, Gavin, 39, said: “What a fantastic first day. I’ve had lots of support from everyone I have met along they way from Coldstream, both on foot and from car horns.
“I’m really overwhelmed at all the support I’ve had from young and older.”
He was cheered on his way as he left from Coldstream Co-op store by a group of youngsters, and he said: “I could feel a strong force with this great group of younglings. Thank you for the fantastic send-off. May the force be with you.”
Gavin aims to cover 20 miles a day wearing the Vader suit, arriving at London’s BBC studios on the evening the Children in Need event takes over BBC One, raising millions of pounds for good causes at both home and abroad. Gavin is aiming to raise £5,000 and is already well on his way.
He said: “The Coldstream-to-London march is well known in historical circles, so I thought it was an interesting route to follow for this fundraising walk.
“I was delighted to kick off proceedings from the town’s Co-op on Sunday morning.
“I’m absolutely passionate about helping Children in Need. It’s an incredible charity which helps improve the lives of youngsters all over the world, and I want to raise as much money as I possibly can.”
Co-op area manager Alan Gordon said: “The staff at the Co-op here in Coldstream were very honoured to be helping Darth, aka Gavin, launch his charity walk.
“He has a long journey ahead of him, and we sent him off in style, fully stocked up with plenty of food and drink.
“We hope the public get behind his endeavours.
“He shouldn’t be too difficult to spot. It’s not every day you see Darth Vader hiking along the road.”
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gavin-Harrison3?newPage=True
His progress can also be followed on Twitter at @DarthVaderGav