Comic culture came to a County Durham town for the first time with great success at the weekend.

The people of Newton Aycliffe and surrounding areas flocked to the town’s first comic convention, staged at Oak Leaf Sports Complex, on Saturday (May 18).

CliffeCon featured talks by celebrity guests, answering fans’ questions and posing for photographs, cosplay competitions and an array of exhibits and trade stands spanning the centre.

The guest list included Hollywood special effects supervisor Kevin Pike, whose work has featured in many big screen blockbusters, from Jaws, to the Indiana Jones’ series and Back to the Future.

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There were also appearances by Northumberland-based prop artist Ray Phillips, whose familiar creations have featured in many Doctor Who episodes, writer and artist Gary Whitlock, illustrator Jeff Anderson, fast-rising mural artist Dan Walls, plus the nation’s favourite Border Terrier, Hacker T Dog, with puppeteer Phil Fletcher, of CBBC fame.

The Northern Echo: Ray Phillips, prop-maker, sculptor and freelance artist, from Northumberland, hard at work at

Actress and model Caroline Munro, who featured in the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, plus the Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Dracula AD 1972, as well as Natasha Rose-Mills and Amber Doig-Thorne, of Winnie the Pooh, Blood and Honey, horror fame, also featured on the guest list.

The Northern Echo: Everyone wants a picture with Hacker T Dog and puppeteer Phil Fletcher, at CliffeCon

Christopher Ryan, who played General Staal, in Doctor Who, plus Mike, in The Young Ones, was another popular attendee, while Dene Michael, of Black Lace, entertained the crowds with renditions of the band's 1984 novelty hit, Agadoo.

Among the famous movie exhibits were the Iron Throne, from Games of Thrones, and a DeLorean DMC-12 time machine, from Back to the Future.

The Northern Echo: The Iron Throne, from Game of Thrones, proved a popular photo prop at CliffeCon, at Newton

CliffeCon was the brainchild of Jeff Cummings and his team from Cute Fox Events, who have staged many comic conventions in recent years in the Midlands.

But the Peterlee-born pop culture enthusiast’s return to the North East, moving to Newton Aycliffe last year, was behind the town’s first such convention.

The Northern Echo: Costumed comic characters at CliffeCon in Newton Aycliffe, on Saturday

“I’ve been living in the Midlands for 39 years and I’ve only been back for about seven months.

“My passion is putting on events and I’ve done a number of comic cons and Peaky Blinders-themed events during my time in the Midlands.

“I decided I wanted to give the people of Newton Aycliffe an event of which they could be proud.

“I hope, with the help of my amazing team, both local and five or six ‘veterans’ from the Midlands, we’ve achieved that.”

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Mr Cummings said many visitors had probably heard of comic conventions, but for a lot of those attending on Saturday, it was their first "live" taste.

He said, given how well it was embraced, he believes it is sure to be repeated, both in Newton Aycliffe and elsewhere in the region.

Further details, as and when they are put in place, will appear on, the events’ company’s website.