Let there be lights...
Husband’s bright idea is growing and glowing
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’