Couple offer some much needed light relief

PUBLISHED: 18:57 15 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:57 15 November 2020

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A retired couple “plodded on” through the coronavirus pandemic to decorate their home in Cambridgeshire with hundreds of festive lights.

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireThe house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Helen and John Attlesey have decorated their house in Soham every year for almost a decade to raise money for three charities that helped their grandson Jacob recover from a serious form of epilepsy.

The couple, who began putting up lights at the beginning of September, said they worked through the coronavirus pandemic to ensure their display was ready to be switched on last week.

Among the decorations are colourful silhouettes, an inflatable Father Christmas and light-up reindeer. They also decorate several trees outside.

Asked how many decorations are put on the house, Mrs Attlesey said there were “too many to count - hundreds”.

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: : Joe Giddens/PA WireThe house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: : Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Mrs Attlesey said: “We started with a few lights nine years ago and every year we’ve added more and more.

“People come from all over to admire the display, they love it, it makes them happy, it’s really become a tradition.

“But it is a shame that this year we had to switch on the lights without a gathering to watch, as we’ve done in the past, but we just plodded on through to make sure we could bring a smile to some faces.”

The grandmother added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has donated and I hope everyone enjoys the display.

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early.  Picture:  Joe Giddens/PA WireThe house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“It’s just our way of giving back to those who saved our grandson.”

The couple raise money for East Anglia Children’s Hospices, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Dreamflight.

The lights will be kept on until the new year.

Helen and John have raised £25,000 in eight years for the charities that their lights effort support.

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireThe house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights to spread a little cheer and start the Christmas festivities early. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Cambs Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Cambs Times