Fundraiser Paul Matthews’ stunning display of festive lights embraces everything that is wonderful about Christmas – from the magic and sparkle to remembering others at this special time of year.
For the past 11 years he and his wife Lisa have created a display to make passers-by stop outside their house and gasp in wonder. Their hard work and dedication have also helped to raise thousands of pounds for their local hospice charity ellenor.
“I absolutely love doing the displays. I’m the biggest kid around – I’m certainly the biggest kid on this whole estate!”
The couple have been decorating their house and garden in Romney Road, Northfleet, every Christmas since 2009 and their displays now also raise vital funds for ellenor.
Paul said: “It all started when we took our first grandchild around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights and we saw his eyes light up.”
Now the couple’s own five children and 10 grandchildren enjoy the Christmas displays they create as much as all the other children who visit. Lisa is even known locally as Mrs Christmas.
Paul said: “We built up the display in our own garden each year and about six years ago we really got noticed. Two elves who were travelling round the neighbourhood with Santa decided to photobomb our display and the picture was viewed by so many people on Facebook that we suddenly become very well known. We got hundreds of messages and some people were saying we should raise money for charity.
“There was no contest really; without hesitation we chose ellenor. It was a charity we had been involved with in the past and it’s our local charity – just up the road. It is mostly supported by fundraising and charitable donations. We didn’t want to go to some big organisation, and we have definitely made the right choice and in the last five years our Christmas lights have helped raise £6714.54 for ellenor.
This Year's Switch On
Friday November 26 at 7pm.
The lights will be turned on again this year by ellenor mascot Ellie.
Paul said: “If it’s not too windy, I hope to have the snow machine going for the opening. I also have something special this year – a train will be going around the garden, with all three carriages lit up and a Father Christmas waving!”
Paul first saw a Christmas train lit up in someone’s garden about 10 years ago and had always coveted it. But he wanted to go a step further and find a train which moved.