Ruskington households’ amazing Christmas charity light show is back again to banish Covid from the gloom

Two Ruskington households have turned on their spectacular combined Christmas light show in a low-key ceremony due to Covid restrictions.

Jackie Cooper and Val Midgley of Elmtree Road have been brightening lives by decorating their homes with festive illuminations for 20 years, inviting passers-by to donate to the chosen charities when they stop to marvel at the show.

Jackie said they opted to turn the lights on at 2.30pm today (Tuesday) so that the younger children across the road at Winchelsea School could see them from their field.

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She explained they could not have their usual big evening switch-on with Father Christmas, snacks and drinks, as Covid restrictions would not allow such a large gathering of local families as normally occurs, so they could not advertise the timing in advance.

Jackie Cooper and Val Midgley among their famous festive lights which can be seen from space! EMN-200112-174209001

Val said it has been a marathon putting all the lights up: “We started on November 3 and completed it today. We have had help from two neighbours up the street, Dave and Dave, to put the high ones up on the walls of our homes.

“We like to try and change things around and do them differently each year, swapping which ones are on display. I have half as many again still stored in my loft and we have now spread and provided some of our lights to fill our next door neighour’s lawn as well.”

Val and her husband Michael had been volunteer fundraisers for the air ambulance for many years and this prompted the idea to ask for donations from people viewing the lights.

This year the collection money, which often reaches as much as £700, will be split evenly between the Lincs and Notts air ambulance and Hedgelina’s Hedgehog Care at Great Hale.

Val said they love Christmas and pay for all the extra electricity (about £100 each) and buy their own lights to increase the profits for the charities, although neighbours have donated some in the past and helped install them when Val and Jackie had problems with ill health the other year.

She said: “Families come to look from Lincoln, Grantham and the other side of Sleaford to look. In fact we went viral on the internet last year and we heard from someone in America that our lights could be seen from space by the International Space Station as it passed over!”

Jackie added there had been an initial upset while setting up, as vandals had cut the wires to a deer’s head on the wall and stolen another small reindeer from the garden, but she said by doing so the vandals rendered the stolen item virtually useless.

The previous year they had some of the donations stolen before they could collect it from the box and the year before another part of the display was damaged, but they will carry on.

The light show can be seen each evening until January 5 between 2.30pm and 9pm.