Displays light up Christmas for charity

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093726009
Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093726009
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More than a million lights have lit up Christmas as two families raise money for charity with their amazing illuminations.

While families across Peterborough have been putting up their trees and decorations ahead of the big day, two households have been preparing for the festive season for weeks.

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093739009

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093739009

One of the biggest displays in the area is at Duncombes Road in Turves, where Robert Dempsey and his family have set up a spectacular winter wonderland.

The lights display was turned on on Friday, and will be kept on throughout December, raising money for Cancer Research.

Mr Dempsey said: “We have more than a million lights, at the front and back of the house. We have two nativity scenes, and lots of new decorations. We have some big trees this year.

“We also have car parking for around 40 cars this year, and a portaloo as well.

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-094347009

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-094347009

“Everyone who comes will get a sweet.”

The lights will be turned on between 5pm and 9pm every day until December 24.

Mr Dempsey dressed as Santa for the switch on, and family members also got into the festive spirit dressing as other Christmas characters.

Mr Dempsey said: “It took about a month to get everything set up. We had John Watson Electrical Services come and bring their staff down to help it all get set up.”

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey.  Wayne Hornett and son Dwane (2) EMN-170312-093919009

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey. Wayne Hornett and son Dwane (2) EMN-170312-093919009

Last year the display raised more than £18,000 after Barclays Bank donated money.

Mr Dempsey said: “I don’t know if we will raise that amount of money again this year. It will be a big challenge.

“We raised £1,000 on the opening night, and we do get people coming a long way.”

At Byfield in Orton Goldhay, Aaron and Fay Bannister have also spent weeks preparing for the Christmas period.

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093751009

Switching on of the Turves Christmas Lights at the home of Robert and Amanda Dempsey EMN-170312-093751009

They also held their big switch-on on Friday, and will be raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Aaron said: “Fay’s brother was treated at Great Ormond Street, and we wanted to do something for the hospital.

“This year we have a memory tree in the garden, and people can come and write their own messages to remember friends and family - not just those who have been treated at Great Ormond Street.

“It took us about three weeks to put them all up - we have had lots of new ones this year.

“The lights will be up until January 8. We have people coming from quite a way to come and see them.”

Last year the Orton display raised more than £400 for the hospital.

Switching on of the   Christmas Lights at the home of  the  Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. EMN-170312-094020009

Switching on of the Christmas Lights at the home of the Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. EMN-170312-094020009

While Aaron did not know the number of bulbs and decorations in the display, he said the illuminations used more than 40 plugs, and included more than 70 sets of lights.

People can donate money for Great Ormond Street at the door, and write their messages for the tree.

Switching on of the   Christmas Lights at the home of  the  Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. Aaron and Fay Bannister with baby Elleyah (2) and family friends turn on the lights. EMN-170312-094031009

Switching on of the Christmas Lights at the home of the Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. Aaron and Fay Bannister with baby Elleyah (2) and family friends turn on the lights. EMN-170312-094031009

Switching on of the   Christmas Lights at the home of  the  Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. EMN-170312-094042009

Switching on of the Christmas Lights at the home of the Bannister family at Bifield, Orton Goldhay. EMN-170312-094042009