Couple celebrates 20 years of lighting up Woodvale street

John and Sheila Ramsbottom are celebrating 20 years of decorating their Woodvale home for Christmas. Pictures: David Baylis d497202
John and Sheila Ramsbottom are celebrating 20 years of decorating their Woodvale home for Christmas. Pictures: David Baylis d497202

THE popular Christmas lights display at 119 Chichester Drive in Woodvale is celebrating 20 years since the first decoration was placed outside their home.

Sheila Ramsbottom said she could remember the day vividly, with Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the crib marking the start of what has become a significant annual display.

“That first year we put out two items, then the next year we bought some more things, and by the third year John (her husband) said if you really want to do this, let’s get some lights,” Mrs Ramsbottom said.

“Then we had people asking us where our donation bucket was so this will now be the 17th year we have fundraised for a charity.”

While the couple still has the original Mary, the display has grown to a full nativity scene with camels, wise men and a manger scene, a full-size sleigh pulled by six kangaroos, the Polar Express, a Santa in an aeroplane, electronic music and visual displays, and walk-through exhibitions in the patio and garage.

This year, they have also been donated four new inflatable toys, which the couple would like to thank the community for.

John and Sheila Ramsbottom with one of the donated air-filled Christmas displays. Picture: David Baylis

ebrating 20 years since the first decoration was pl

“Last year several people said they had some blow-up toys to donate,” Mrs Ramsbottom said.

“Lots have people have said over the years they would like to donate things but it usually never happens.

“But last year everyone turned up.”

Mrs Ramsbottom said they would also like to thank their “fantastic” neighbours who had helped them this year and “come to our rescue” a few times.

“To them, two hours is not much but to us we think ‘thank goodness’ because it’s a real big help,” she said.

John and Sheila Ramsbottom with Mary, which was used in their first display, 20 years ago. Picture: David Baylis

“Everyone has been really great.

“And when we get the help, it’s not a problem to do this every year and it means we can do it a bit longer.”

Once again, the couple has invited the community to join them for a sausage sizzle from 7pm on Friday, December 6 to officially launch the lights.

The display is then open until December 24.

This will also be the second year they will raise money for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, having raised $5600 last year.

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