Karen and Frank Williams live in a small cul-de-sac in Moreton. You’d imagine that with it being hidden away from main roads, Amberley Close would be just a typical suburban road with neatly cut lawns and friendly neighbours. But as Christmas approaches each year, it erupts into a blaze of colour when the Christmas lights on every house are switched on.
Sadly, this year there was no launch night, there were no crowds, no big switch on, no celebrity guests. But the lights are still there in all their festive glory.
Karen said she started doing the light display for charity 14 years ago, “because I was getting up of a morning and there were little bags of money on the step, or people were knocking on the door asking to give money to our charity.”, she said. “And, I had to tell them that we don’t do it to raise money.”
“So, one night, I said to my husband, Frank, ‘This is silly! Christmas is all about kids; why don’t we do what we’re doing already but raise money for Claire House?'” Karen approached Claire House and explained that she’d like to help raise money by putting on the Christmas lights display and “Claire House were delighted.”, she said. In the 14 years that they’ve been raising money, the residents have raised £28,000 for Claire House.
Karen started with one set of lights in the bedroom window 25 years ago, “and it just escalated from there”, Karen told birkenhead.news Now, the whole street is involved. “We all just get stuck in and help with putting up each others lights.”
But, things are a little different this year and the residents felt they couldn’t do things the way they’d done in previous years. Normally, Karen has a postbox in her garden for kids to write letters to Santa (and she makes sure he answers each and every one personally!), but that hasn’t happened this year, but hopefully, she said everything will be back to normal next year.
In previous years, Frank has dressed up as Santa, (when the real Santa is busy, of course!), but with COVID-19 rules, they felt that this wasn’t practical this year. “Sadly, Santa’s sleigh is flat-packed away this year and even the reindeer and elves are wearing face-masks!”, Frank told us.
You can, however, still leave a cash donation in the Claire House Wishing Well in Frank and Karen’s garden.
The enthusiasm and energy of everyone I met in the close was inspiring and I had one more question, just before I left the Christmas wonderland, “How many lights do you think you’ve got up?”
Karen laughed, “Haha! I couldn’t even say, I couldn’t – I’ve no idea!”