Rising energy bills might put some households off decking the halls with Christmas lights this year – but not ‘Mr Christmas’, Mark Abbott, who has covered his home in 25,000 lights for charity.
For the last nine years, the dad of three has turned his home into a winter wonderland to raise funds for local homelessness charity St Martins in his native Norwich – the hostel that helped him when he was homeless. Last year Abbott hung 17,500 lights on his home, and has upped the number of decorations this year after refusing to let rising energy bills ruin his plans.
“If people don’t do lights because of the energy prices then we’re going to miss out. I want to give back to the community and if I can do that by putting up 20-odd thousand lights then I will,” says Abbott.
“The response was something else last year. I really upped the game, and we raised just short of £1,800, which is amazing. I was approached in the summer holidays by three or four people asking me if I was going to be doing it this year. I can’t not put lights up. People tell me I’m doing a great thing. I think people really need it this year. People need it more than ever.”
Abbott’s home will become a local landmark in Norwich when he has his big switch-on come December 4.
In the lead-up to the big day, Abbott even brings in a cherry picker to hang lights on the roof. As well as the lights, Christmas-mad Abbott brings ‘Santa’s sleigh’ to his front garden – which can seat four children – along with a snow machine to ensure that there is festive weather. The snow machine is turned on every time someone donates to charity, and Abbott said last year he went through 15 litres of snow machine fluid as families flocked to his home.