Let there be light!
Big-hearted John and Helen Attlesey are arranging another explosion of festive cheer in aid of three charities, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The couple are in the process of adorning their home with hundreds of Christmas lights and hope donations bring in more than last year’s whopping total of nearly £13,000.
Their eye-popping display will feature luminous snowmen, reindeer and an inflatable Santa Claus.
Retired John and Helen, who live in Julius Martin Lane, Soham, Cambridgeshire, have been decorating their house since 2012 and hope to switch on this year’s display in mid-November.
“It takes a lot of work but we’re getting there,” said John, 76.
“Our display has become a tradition here in Soham and we’re very proud to have raised so much, with last year’s grand total being just over £12,895.
“It was more than double the amount we raised the previous year.
“We split that money three ways and also supported Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Dreamflight, with each receiving £4,258.
“It’s an awful lot of work and sometimes I wonder what I’m doing, but it cheers people up and raises a lot of money so it’s become very important to us.
“We’re adding to the display all the time and we’re nearly three-quarters of the way there, having started putting things up in September.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to switch the display on next month, although, like last year, we won’t make a big thing of it because of COVID.
“However, people will still be able to visit and make a donation.”
John and Helen raise money for three charities that supported grandson Jacob when he was diagnosed with a serious form of epilepsy at the age of six.
He was given 12 to 18 months to live but, after undergoing surgery to have a part of his brain removed, his seizures stopped. He turns 18 in January.
“We’ve been adding more and more decorations every year,” added Helen, 69.
“It’s become such a big thing and, since starting out in 2012, we’ve raised more than £25,000.
“We’ve been amazed by the media coverage we’ve already received this year. We’ve been in the local and national press and it’s great publicity that will hopefully help us have another record-breaking year of fundraising.”
EACH Regional Fundraiser Tina Burdett said: “John and Helen’s stunning display is always a sight to behold.
“It’s an incredible gesture and, down the years, they’ve raised an extraordinary amount of money for EACH.
“Their long-term support is something we’re truly grateful for because we rely on voluntary income to continue providing specialist care and support for children with life-threatening conditions, and their families.
‘The money they raise will make a real difference, as well as sprinkling festive cheer and putting smiles on the faces of those fortunate enough to enjoy their Christmas lights.”