Let there be lights...

Hus­band’s bright idea is grow­ing and glow­ing

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CROWDS gath­ered out­side a South Ruislip ‘house of Christ­mas’ to see the lights switched on ear­lier this month.

82-year-old Derek Brent has been climb­ing up lad­ders to dec­o­rate his home, and rais­ing money for char­ity in the process, since his wife Mary was di­ag­nosed with can­cer 15 years ago.

This year, around 200 peo­ple turned up to enjoy mu­sic, a ma­gi­cian, raf­fle prizes and the count­down to the switch-on evening on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 5.

Mr Brent said: “We started off small and it got big­ger and big­ger and big­ger.

“The com­mu­nity join­ing in – it makes it all worth while. Es­pe­cially this year with the num­ber of peo­ple that turned up.”

The grand­fa­ther and fa­ther of five ex­plained that he now drafts in help from his sons to put up the high­est Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions on the house.

Rosie Brent, who is mar­ried to Derek’s grand­son, helped to spread the word of the event through so­cial me­dia.

She said: “Derek has been try­ing to raise money for can­cer re­search ever since his wife bat­tled can­cer many years ago.

“Al­though she has had to bat­tle it more times since he hasn’t given up on his mis­sion.

“His wife is now in re­cov­ery and al­though she needs an oxy­gen tank 24 hours a day they are still go­ing strong. Derek has been vol­un­teer­ing for scouts and beavers for 50 years and really is a re­mark­able man.”

Rosie told the Gazette that around 200 peo­ple and six PCSOs turned up to help with the traf­fic.

She said: “We weren’t ex­pect­ing so many peo­ple!

“I had about 70 raf­fle prizes that I’d col­lected from the lo­cal area from dif­fer­ent shops in the com­mu­nity. I had a cake stall as well be­cause

lo­cal bak­eries had given me cakes that we were sell­ing. My mum and her friend dressed up as Ba­nanas in Py­ja­mas and all the kids loved that.

“It’s great to be a part of it. I brought my daugh­ter along this year and it was so nice bring her out­side to see the lights and to see her face.”

The night it­self raised £830 for Can­cer Re­search and the fam­ily, who hope to do the event again next year, have since re­ceived more do­na­tions in the box out­side the house.

n LIT UP: Karen Watson, Derek Brent, Mary Brent, Rosie Brent, Lor­raine Hughes (Rosie’s Mum) Front: James Brent and

daugh­ter Lily Rose

n THE BIG SWITCH ON: Crowds cheered as the lights went on at the ‘house of Christ­mas’

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