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Romney Road, Northfleet Christmas lights back to support ellenor hospice


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A family's festive light display returns for an eleventh year fitted with a working train and a waving Santa.

Paul and Lisa Matthews' Christmas decorations fill the entirety of their front garden in Northfleet and they have even made alterations to their house for the annual display.

The Matthews' lights

Paul said: "I absolutely love doing the displays. I am the biggest kid around – I am certainly the biggest kid on this whole estate.

"It all started when we took our first grandchild around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights and we saw his eyes light up."

The family in Romney Road, Northfleet have been decorating their house up every winter since 2009 and have raised more than £6,000 for ellenor hospice.

Paul added: "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 around 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."

Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews

The family chose ellenor as they had been involved with them in the past and is their local charity. Over the past five years they have raised £6714.54.

But this year, Paul, a self-employed inspector for oil refineries, has completed his decorations with a moving train and a waving Santa.

He has also designed his entire garden around the displays by installing Astroturf, white picket fencing and changed the window above the front door to plain glass so he can project short films on it.

Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews
Paul and Lisa's Christmas decorations. Picture: Paul Matthews

The 57-year-old added: "I am 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."

This year's display has taken 30 days for the dad-of-five and grandad to 10 to complete and he was even setting it up behind his Halloween decorations.

When asked about his electricity bill, Paul simply joked: "We will not mention that."

Paul Matthews with this year's Halloween decorations
Paul Matthews with this year's Halloween decorations

The lights were turned on by ellenor's mascot Ellie on Friday, November 26 at 7pm and more than 200 gathered to watch.

They will now be on a timer during the morning school run until 9am and from 3-10pm weekdays and lit from 10am to 10pm on weekends.

You can follow Paul on Facebook and make a donation or via JustGiving here.

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

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