"Exterminate" - Daleks invade Cheltenham
SOMEONE fetch a Doctor – there's an alien on the loose.
Shoppers looked on in amazement and fear as Daleks invaded Beechwood Shopping Centre at the weekend.
Two metal pepper pots took time out from attempting to exterminate Doctor Who to collect cash in aid of the NSPCC.
But these Daleks were not created by Davros, but were the handiwork of Gareth Davies, from Bourton-on-the- Water. He has made 12 versions of the Time Lord's nemesis in the past seven years, donating them to fire stations, children's hospitals and other good causes.
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The extraterrestrial mutants from planet Skaro have also helped Gareth, a site manager of The Cotswold School, raise thousands of pounds for charity.
Gareth was inspired to try and build them when he saw a television programme about a man doing just that.
He said: "I have always loved Doctor Who and I really enjoy the challenge of building and making things – finding out what parts you can use and making sure it is always to scale." The 47-year-old's first Dalek took more than 100 hours to make, using wood, plastic for the ball-balls and a papier mâché dome.
But the former carpenter has learned to use fibre-glass and can now make them in around 70 hours.
He is part of the Dalek Making Guild and Project Dalek, and both have forums where he can pick up plans and tips on how to make the creatures.
The father of four said: "It was a really good day and they always prove more popular when the television show is on. It certainly does make people talk and attracts attention to the collection buckets. For most people it has a real wow factor and they really want their photograph taken with them.
"Some of the children, particularly the smaller ones, but sometimes even some of the adults, get a bit frightened and end up running away when they start to move or talk."
In the past he has used his creations to help the Joshua Foundation for children with terminal illnesses, the British Heart Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care. He hopes to expand his skills and make other unusual science fiction characters such as R2D2.