Dazzling display raises hundreds for hospital charity

Dennis Firmage and his wife Mandy light up their house at Christmas for charity. Picture: CHRIS CRAN

Dennis Firmage and his wife Mandy in front of their house lit up for Christmas 2019. The couple continued to host their annual Christmas lights display for 2020's festive season. - Credit: Archant

Lighting up the neighbourhood and spreading festive cheer has become an annual tradition for Mandy and Dennis Firmage. 

And the couple, who live in Farmway in Toftwood, Dereham, raised a record amount for charity through their most recent Christmas lights display.

Mr Firmage, 77, said people coming to see the lights donated £865.96 in the weeks leading up to Christmas, which they have now given to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Charity Covid-19 appeal.

He said the amount people had given - around £200 more than last year - came as a surprise. 

The 2020 Christmas lights display outside Dennis and Mandy Firmage's house.  

The 2020 Christmas lights display outside Dennis and Mandy Firmage's house. - Credit: Supplied by Dennis Firmage

Mr Firmage said: "We didn't expect to get so much this year. We usually have people come to visit family in the area over Christmas and while they're here they come and see the lights."

He said a former neighbour had recently given them "three dustbin bags" full of Christmas lights, so the 2020 display was bigger than ever, consisting of thousands of bulbs.

Mr Firmage said he and his wife, 73, had put Christmas lights up around their house for 40 years, but it was only for the past six years that they had decided to raise money for charities through the display. 

Most Read

Good causes they have supported in previous years include East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Nelson's Journey, NARS and Dereham Cancer Care. 

Mr Firmage said: "I've built a small shed just to store the lights in year on year. In other years we've had a switch-on evening where we put them out a bit later on and we hand out sweets to the children and mince pies to the adults, but of course we couldn't do that this year."

A spokesman from the N&N hospital fundraising team said: "Denise and Mandy’s Christmas lights were amazing and we are delighted that their festive display raised so much money for the charity, as well as spreading some joy at this time. We really appreciate their support to our Covid Appeal at the N&N hospital."

The donations were made through a box the couple left in their front garden. 

Mr Firmage said they planned to keep on having a festive lights display, and hoped they could resume combining the display with a small party for Christmas 2021.