A Nottingham family have decked their house and garden in thousands of Christmas lights and decorations to raise funds for Hayward House, the palliative care unit at Nottingham City Hospital.
Every Christmas for the last fourteen years, the Swift family has followed the family tradition, and, each year, visitors flock to the house in Laurel Crescent, Nuthall, to view the festive spectacle. Thousands of people made the pilgrimage last Christmas. Tony Swift explains that, for many locals, the annual switch on marks the start of the festive period.
This year the family will switch on their Christmas lights at 6pm on Sunday 19th November, with help from their special guests, the Siddiqui family from Channel 4’s Gogglebox, and, of course, Santa. Hundreds of spectators are expected to attend.
The Swift family’s fundraising is equally impressive: last year the family raised £10,547 for Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Over the years, they have raised over £80,000 for a number of charities, including Wish Upon a Star.
The family, who began decorating their house in September, estimates that it costs £400 to light the house throughout the festive period, but they admit visitors to the garden free of charge. Many visitors choose instead to donate to the family’s selected charities. Half of all money raised will go Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Hayward House Appeal, which is aiming to raise money to enhance and develop specialist palliative care for life-limiting illnesses, including end-of-life care, at City Hospital’s palliative care unit.
Tony Swift, his wife Wendy, and stepson Adam Butler, chose to fundraise for Nottingham Hospitals Charity after Wendy’s father, John Sheeran, was diagnosed with terminal cancer fourteen years ago. John received treatment at Hayward House and the family chose to thank the staff for doing a ‘fantastic job’ of caring for him.
Adam said: ‘As long as I can continue to climb up a ladder to put the lights up, Nuthall Christmas Lights will go on, hopefully reaching higher amounts of money each year for two amazing charities!’
Bassit Siddiqui, one-third of the Gogglebox family, said: ‘When we were younger we would drive around the neighbourhood with our dad and look at the houses with the best Christmas lights. The Nuthall lights would win hands-down’. Umar Siddiqui explains that ‘Not only is this a chance to get Christmas started, we also get to help support and amazing cause’. Their dad, Sid Siddiqui, adds: We are so excited. Hopefully, we won’t blow a fuse!’
People attending the switch-on can buy mince pies, mulled wine and small Christmas gifts from the family’s on-site shop. Santa visits the house every Friday and Saturday 6pm-8pm until New Year. Children can meet him in his Grotto, discuss their Christmas wish list, and receive a free goodie bag.
Naomi Walters, Senior Community Fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “All of us at Nottingham Hospitals Charity really look forward to the Nuthall Christmas Lights, and we are so grateful for their dedicated fundraising. The Swifts’ lights display gets bigger and better every year, bringing the local community together, and raising thousands of pounds for complementary therapies, arts and social activities for patients at Hayward House.”
For more information about the Hayward House Appeal, and opportunities to fundraise for Nottingham Hospitals Charity, visit: https://www.nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk/