Diss street spreads Christmas cheer with lights display

For one month a year a Diss street comes alive with brightly lit sleighs, reindeer and presents, chatting Santas and moving snowmen.

Children have flocked to see the Christmas displays staged by residents in Mount Pleasant for the last 30 years, which have raised thousands of pounds for charities including the East Anglia's Children's Hospice (EACH) at Quidenham and Diss Mencap.

However, this year's spectacular show could be one of the last in its current form as the four residents involved- Gavin Parslow, James Cullum, Jason Ellis and Paul Partridge- struggle to meet the cost of keeping the energy-sapping bulbs lit.

Mr Parslow, 50, starting doing the displays 10 years ago after moving into the street, but said his electricity bill for December was �100-�120 more than normal.

The father-of-two, who lives with wife Teresa, 55 and children Des, 26 and Laura, 18, believed his decorations had cost him �1,000 to buy over the years and included a moving Christmas train and lit Santa in a parachute.

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When Mr Parslow first started he would take longer to put the decorations up on his wall and around his garden, but he now uses photos he took of previous displays to enable him to arrange everything within hours.

'It is just to see the look on the children's faces when they come up here to look at the display, that is the main motivation,' he added.

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Mr Cullum, 72 and his wife Sylvia, 68, have had their colourful display the longest, having started 50 years ago and they believe they have raised between �5,000 and �6,000 for EACH through a collection box at the end of their garden.

They have also lavished thousands on their display, which they keep lit for a seven week period, starting shortly after Guy Fawkes Night in November.

However, they are also considering cutting back as the display costs an extra �200 on their December electric bill.

'A lady said 'what charity do you do this for?' and I just said we do it for the love of it. We just got bitten by the bug, we love seeing all the children coming up here to look at the display,' Mrs Cullum said.

But if that was not enough, the couple already have a receptive audience to test their display out on- their six children and 17 grandchildren.

Taxi driver Mr Partridge started his display over five years ago after being persuaded to join in by his next door neighbour Mr Parslow and has raised hundreds of pounds for charities and organisations including Marie Curie, Diss Mencap and Scole Utd FC.

He said: 'It is just a good night when we have the big switch on in the street and all the children come round to see the lights. It is nice to do it for charity.'

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