A Lewisham resident is helping to raise thousands of pounds for charity by filling his garden with an abundance of Christmas lights.
For the past 15 Christmases, Garry Leach has transformed his front garden in Birkhall Road, Catford, into a winter wonderland in aid of St Christopher’s Hospice and other local charities.
In conjunction with his local rotary club – who organise Santa sleigh tours around the neighbourhood and collect at the local supermarkets – the club raised almost £10,000, last year.
Each year a large portion of the money goes to St Christopher’s Hospice while the rest is divided up between local charities.
“St Christopher’s Hospice touches practically everyone, I don’t know of many people who haven’t had a relative, or a friend or someone they know, go through the hospice. The charity is very close to everyone’s hearts in the local area, and in south London particularly. The work they do there is extraordinary,” said Leach.
This year the rotary club has seen 300 people volunteer with the Christmas collection efforts, while it has taken Leach around two months to set up the Christmas display in his garden. The Catford local said reactions he gets from the neighbourhood are “superb”.
“It’s amazing, you can hear the excitement of the children. I’m sitting in the living room and you can hear the wails and the cheering – particularly when you turn the lights on, and the bubbles, and the snow. They love all that,” adds Leach.
Chris Compton, the coordinator of Ravensbourne Rotary Club collection, said: “The whole ethos of the club is to meet other people and raise money for charity. Over the last 40 years I estimate we’ve raised £100,000 for charity.”