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Christmas lights winners glow with pride

Five dazzling Christmas light displays have been judged the tops in a UK Power Networks’ competition and won a hamper each.

From Press releases - 18 December 2013 12:00 AM

Five dazzling Christmas light displays have been judged the tops in a UK Power Networks’ competition and won a hamper each.

The winners were Denise Hales from Quinton Road, Needham Market in Suffolk, Wayne Skinner from Derbyshire, Lisa and Jason Hoban from Middlesex, Ellen McIlwraith from Ayrshire, and Paula Payne from Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea, Somerset who all entered via social media websites.

Lisa and Jason Hoban, from Longford Avenue, Bedfont, Middlesex, have been running their amazing lights show since their son Lee, now 26, was born. Poignantly, they made the decision to keep it going after their younger son, Tommy, died from a genetic condition, aged just four.

Mum, Lisa, said: “Tommy loved the lights, so we carry on. Doing this keeps us going and gives something back. My husband starts work on it in October and we don’t normally get it all down until March. It’s crazy! My favourite part of the display is the virtual Santa in the window. It lights up the kiddies’ faces when they see it because it really looks like Father Christmas is in the house. I didn’t know my friend, Patsy, had entered us in the competition and I was really over the moon to win. The lights look even better than in the picture. They’re beautiful, really pretty.”

This year, the Hobans are raising money for the local Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice and for Alfie Barrett, a little boy who is going to America in the new year for treatment for a rare form of cancer.

Wayne Skinner started putting up his display at Carrvale, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in October. It takes six weeks to assemble and has been getting bigger every year, attracting ever larger crowds. The display has raised £306 so far this year for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Viewers can follow Wayne’s Christmas lights story in a Channel 5 documentary ‘Britain’s Craziest Christmas Lights’ at 9pm tonight (December 18). He said: “It takes over the whole year doing work on the display but we enjoy doing it and the charities love it as well. We do it for a different charity each year. It gets bigger and more complicated every year - it dances to music and everything now. A lot of people come here each year to enjoy it.”

Ellen McIlwraith, from The Avenue, Girvan, Ayrshire, said: “I haven’t won anything in years so this is really nice. I’ve been doing the lights for 25 years. I’m from California originally and they do it big over there! It started with a string of lights in the window and got bigger and bigger and bigger.

“We live in quite a small town so people look for it every year and come from all over the place to see it. It brightens the place up and quite a few people do it now. My husband is a fisherman and he has finally resigned himself to this being part of our routine! I like to stand back once it’s done and think ‘that’s it’.”

Jenny Carter, marketing communications executive at UK Power Networks, said: “Picking just five winners was a challenge because there were so many spectacular photos of Christmas lights and decorations sent in. We really enjoyed looking at them and all and engaging with our customers on twitter and facebook, and also encouraging people to install their lights safely and use low energy options.”

The winning light shows can be seen at: