Star Wars fan has a Storming birthday

Force awakens: Jay Hanson, owner of The Coffee Shop on Friargate got an unexpected surprise for his birthday.

Force awakens: Jay Hanson, owner of The Coffee Shop on Friargate got an unexpected surprise for his birthday.

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A Preston business owner’s birthday went down a Storm after a visit from some intergalactic guests.

Jay Hanson, who runs The Coffee Shop, on Friargate, Preston, thought it was just another day at work until he was rushed by a pair of Stormtroopers.

Jay Hanson, owner of The Coffee Shop on Friargate got an unexpected surprise for his birthday. A pair of Stormtroopers turned up to arrest Jay as part of a fundraising stunt for the CRY Awareness charity. Picture by Paul Heyes

Jay Hanson, owner of The Coffee Shop on Friargate got an unexpected surprise for his birthday. A pair of Stormtroopers turned up to arrest Jay as part of a fundraising stunt for the CRY Awareness charity. Picture by Paul Heyes

Stunned Jay said: “It was something out of the ordinary! I was just expecting a normal day at work and then that happened!

“I was really shocked when they stormed in the shop. They took me away and took me across the road and then we had a nice lunch together.

“It just reminds me that I am loved. It is incredible really that people can do surprises like this.

“It was fun, it was a shock to the system.

“People in the shop were excited too, I think we had a few Star Wars fans!”

Jay’s mum, Julie Hanson, who lives in Heysham, organised the visit and says she wanted to do something special for Jay on his 36th birthday after he was set back by a health scare.

Julie explains: “Just over a year ago, Jay was diagnosed with Brugada syndrome. He’s had health issues throughout his life and had a pretty tough time of it but this was the catalyst.

“Within three weeks of being diagnosed, he had to have a defibrillator implanted and he had trouble with that - it kept defibrillating when it shouldn’t have.

“As a mum, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to do something a little bit different to perk him up?’”

Julie got in touch with Simon Hogg, who’s a member of the 99th Garrison, a Star Wars costuming group, to set up the birthday surprise.

“Simon is a friend and I asked if he could pop in as a favour in his Stormtrooper outfit for Jay but it sort of snowballed from there.

“It’s Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRYS) awareness week so we thought we would also raise some money for them at the same time.

“We’re playing it low-key though as we didn’t want Jay to have a heart attack - that wouldn’t look good!”

Brugada syndrome is a genetic heart condition that can cause sudden death, particularly in young and middle-aged males. People with the condition can show no symptoms at all, with deaths sometimes happening without any warning signs.

Julie adds: “Jay’s life took a complete U-turn after he was diagnosed as he had to give up his job working with electrical generators.

“I’m glad that things have worked out at The Coffee Shop though - it’s given him a new lease of life.”