BRITAIN’S most festive house lit up by 50,000 lights takes months to decorate – and the owners say people always ask them the same thing.
Brothers Lee and Paul Brailsford have spent 27 years collecting the Winter Wonderland display, and it’s so huge they have to start building it in October.
The brothers, of Brently, Bristol, started the festive project back in 1994 and haven’t stopped since.
The display includes lights as well as life-size Santas, snowmen, rope-light shapes, trains, elves and a large reindeer family in the garden.
“The first thing people ask us apart from, how much does the electric cost, is when did you start it all,” Lee said on their blog.
“We tell them it all started one Boxing day back in 1994.
“We went up B&Q and they were selling all there Christmas lights off half price, so I seen a small Christmas tree I bought it and that was that,” the 33-year-old continued.
The brothers even imported a life size Nativity scene from America and had to buy the pieces over two years because of the cost.
“So the first year we got the main parts, i.e. Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the three wise men,” Paul added.
“The next year we got the camel, shepherd, two sheep and the angel,” the 31-year-old continued.
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It comes in handy that both brothers are carpenters, which allowed them to create the perfect stage and set up for each decoration.
Even after Lee and Paul flew the nest, they continued to illuminate their mother’s home as people on the street urged them to keep going.
“As the lights display got bigger, we moved on to other parts of the house, roof, garage and now even we are on the garden,” the brothers said.
“It takes a lot of setting up and that’s why we start in October,” they added.
Their efforts not only bring festive cheer to the neighbours, but warm the hearts of those at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
This year the light display has raised over £90,000 for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal which helps children in need at the hospital.
On the JustGiving page it states: ”This year we are doing our famous cookie cabin, with hot chocolates, raffles, cookies & cakes.
“Light display will run from 1st December to 2nd January from 5pm – 9pm.”
On the Brailsford’s blog, they wrote: “As there was a lot of public interest in the display, we thought it would be a good opportunity to raise money for local charity’s.
“We got in contact with Southmead hospital and decided to do it for the Tiny Lives Campaign, and continued to do so for the next three years until their campaign ended hitting their targets.
“Then we had to find a new charity and came across The Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal at the children’s hospital in Bristol.”
In 2007 the pair managed to donate an impressive £15,666 to Cots for Tots and hope their fundraising will continue to grow each Christmas.
Although the cost of running the 50,000 lights appears to remain a mystery, it seems to be of no obstacle for the brothers as they continue to raise money every year for their charities.