Festive families light up their homes for Christmas

Basingstoke Gazette: Darren Hutchings with his display in Loveridge Close, Cranbourne. Buy this photo » Darren Hutchings with his display in Loveridge Close, Cranbourne.

THE spirit of Christmas is clear to see in Basingstoke as festive families adorn their houses with an impressive display of twinkling lights.

Martin Coltman, 55, from Queen Mary Avenue, South View, first put lights on his home to embarrass his teenage daughter.

But now his two children are grown up, the carpenter continues to add to his display every year for his five grandchildren.

He said: “When I first put the lights up, my daughter said: ‘If you ever do that, I’m never coming home’. She was 13 or 14 at the time and it’s snowballed from there.”

In Brackley Way, on the Berg Estate, dozens of families visit a festively-lit house completely covered in Christmas-themed lights.

Visitors and passers-by can donate to Naomi House children’s hospice, in Sutton Scotney, by inserting their spare change in a collection box on the wall of the house.

The display includes an iceberg scene with penguins and polar bears, trees lit up, street lights on the corners of the wall, Minnie and Mickey Mouse on the roof and an illuminated Father Christmas.

Tania Gorton said her family pass by every day to admire the magical scene.

The mother-of-three, from Brighton Hill, said: “It’s amazing. It’s so festive and beautiful. It’s the best house I have ever seen. We come every day to look at it.”

In Cranbourne, Darren Hutchings’ house is the envy of all his neighbours, who know Christmas must be near when his festive display goes up.

The 45-year-old father-of-two, from Loveridge Close, said: “We’ve been here for six years and put them up every year.

“It puts smiles on the kids’ faces.

“We have a lot of young kids who live around here, and they ask me if I’m putting them up.”

The plasterer, who lives with his wife Jill and eight-year-old son Ben, said the lights, which include an angel with moving wings, increase his electricity bill by around £150.

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