Pauls Lights
Pauls Lights

Christmas lights raise thousands for hospice charity

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.

He said: “I eventually spoke to someone at Chalk Garden Rail in Gravesend, and they ordered it for me last November. It finally arrived about three weeks ago – just in time for this year’s display. It looks a bit like the train from Polar Express. I love it!”

Paul, who is a self-employed inspector for oil refineries, is often away working and has to plan his Christmas creations around the times he is home. He has been known to start setting up his displays in August or September!

He said: “I’m lucky that my work has been well paid over the years and this is a way of giving something to the community and to other people around me. A lot of the time I am away working but when I am here, the reaction to what I do is wonderful.”

Viewing Times


During the morning school run until 9am.
In the evening from 3-10pm.


Lights will be lit from 10am to 10pm.

Paul likes to introduce a fresh angle to the display every year.

He said: “I’m always looking out for something new, but I don’t really have a plan – a lot of the time I’m just winging it. I usually start building the display around a centrepiece. Last year it was an inflatable Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas. This year I’m using my double-level waterfall as a centrepiece, with the train going through it.”

This year’s display will take Paul about 30 days to complete – many of those working 10 to 12 hours a day just to make sure everything is perfect, and the wiring is safe. He has even designed his entire garden around the displays by installing Astroturf and white picket fencing. And the house has undergone alterations too!

Paul said: “I changed the window above the front door to plain glass so that I could project short Christmas films onto it. I made a screen out of a B&Q shower curtain and bought a 4,500 lumens projector. The films are cartoony and show things like Santa in his workshop with his elves and a skating snowman – all fun Christmas stuff.”

When asked about his electricity bill, Paul simply jokes: “We won’t mention that!”

Fans of Paul’s lights display can rest assured that Santa will make an appearance again this year, on Christmas Eve.

He said: “We only live in a little road and last year people were queued up and down the street and round the corner – all observing social distancing of course!”

Every year Paul now installs a post box as part of his display, where people can leave donations for ellenor in designated envelopes. This year, for a bit of fun, he has also managed to find an old-style money spinner, so children can throw in their spare change. There will also be a QR code outside Paul’s house on a billboard, which will enable visitors to donate.

Facebook Info

Romney Road Lights Northfleet

Follow Paul on Facebook through the Romney Road Lights Northfleet page.


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Just Giving

Donate to Paul's Light Up for ellenor Fundraising page.


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Light Up for ellenor

If you would like to light up your home in aid of ellenor this Christmas, find out more about the Christmas Lights campaign.