It’s light up time again for this Caister charity couple

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year.

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Snow time like the present for Caister's very own Mr and Mrs Christmas who have again dug out their Christmas lights early to put on a display for charity.

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year.

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Jane and Barry Cockrill, of Kipling Close, have always enjoyed decorating their house for Christmas but it was four years ago they started adding a fundraising element to the fun. Now, when you see their self-style Santa's grotto near to Christmas time, it is adorned with thousands of lights, illuminated polar bears, penguins, reindeer, snowmen and a brightly lit Santa in his sleigh.

'We'd never thought about the charity side before, because we live in a cul-de-sac so didn't think people would see,' said Jane, 58. 'But a few years ago we started to put a collection pot out to give money to Willow Freeman, who has a rare intestinal condition.

'We raised around £2000 for Willow last year.'

This year, Jane and Barry are collecting for Billy's Steps, a fund to support Billy Childs, of Caister, who has cerebral palsy. The money raised is used to help Billy continue with his physiotherapy with the aim of helping Billy to walk.

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year.

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill, in Caister, last year. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Jane, who is a partner at Saks hairdressers, said: 'We wanted to do it for the children, because they're the ones who enjoy it, and little Billy is local, we had a lot of people put his name forward.

'We've met with his parents and they need around £5000 to continue with his physio, plus there's a possibility of an operation which would remove the spasticity in Billy's legs in order to promote his mobility, and he'd need more physio after that too.'

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Every year, the couple hold an invite-only launch event where they usually raise around £400. And this year is no different where around 130 adults and 60 or 70 children will turn up on the Cockrill's doorstep, with each child getting a selection box and Santa making a special appearance on the back of a donkey.

For members of the public, the lights will be on from December 1 - January 1, and all are encouraged to go along, take a look, and pop some pennies in the collection pot.

'My husband has been working on it for six or seven weeks now,' Jane added. 'It started with just a reindeer and it's grown and grown, this year we're using 600m of tinsel!'

To make a donation to Billy's Steps, or just to find out more, visit the JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/billychilds