A festive display which began with a single string of lights 34 years ago has turned into an attraction which draws families from across Maidstone.
In the run up to Christmas, Keith and Louise Pye, both 73, decorate their home in Banky Meadow, Barming with hundreds of bulbs, adding new designs each time.
The tradition started when they moved to the area in 1986. It has grown so much and become so famous that locals quip ‘It’s not Christmas until the Banky Meadow lights are up’.
Mr Pye, a retired architect, said: “It started from a single set of lights that we used to put up when our kids were small.
“As time went by, and the grandchildren came along, we started buying more and it has built up ever since.
“We still have the original lights and they still work.”
The couple, who have four children and 13 grandchildren, work together on the display which takes a few days to install.
Mrs Pye decorates the inside of the house, while her husband is tasked with lighting up the outside for everyone to see.
Mr Pye added: “We put them up slightly earlier this year, it was around the last week of November because people kept asking me.
“I think because of the pandemic it has been more noticeable and people are more excited for Christmas.
“We have so many people stop outside to have a look which is really nice. If we spot them we wave at them and it’s nice to know all of the efforts are not in vain. We will keep doing it for as long as we can.”
This year the display comes with a twist and Mr and Mrs Pye, who have been married 47 years, decided to set up the lights alongside a charity fundraiser. They chose Winston’s Wish, a childhood bereavement charity, to support young people who may have lost a loved one through Covid-19.
Nearly £300 has been raised of the £500 target so far.
The lights will be switched on between 4pm and 10pm every night until January 3.
Meanwhile, others have been following suit determined to bring some Christmas joy to Maidstone.
Residents of Sutton Woods estate, off Sutton Road, held their very own Christmas light switch on event on Saturday after families came together to decorate the street.
And 14-year-old Callum Dunne in Queen Elizabeth Square has festooned his home with festive trees, lights and giant Santas in aid of Maidstone Day Centre.