Scottish Daily Mail

IT’S OUR FESTIVE FAMILY SANCTUARY

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FRANCINE EDGE, 56, is a housewife and lives in Bury, Lancashire, with her husband Paul, 62, who owns a travel business. They have four children and three grandchild­ren. She says: At the start of this month I hired an interior stylist to decorate our second home, a three-bedroom lodge an hour’s drive away on the edge of the Lake District.

It’s a luxury that my husband treated me to last Christmas when I was having treatment for breast cancer and simply wasn’t well enough to put up the decoration­s myself.

Ordinarily we love to congregate at our lodge as one big family to celebrate Christmas, usually in early December so that none of the children feel pressure to divide themselves between us and their in-laws or partners on Christmas Day.

When I was ill, Paul wanted to ensure that the lodge was still a sanctuary of festive loveliness. So we got in touch with Alison from lastingmem­ories.org.uk after a friend recommende­d her.

She did such a wonderful job that we decided to hire her again this year — even earlier this time. the events of the past year — my health, Paul’s business being hit hard by the pandemic and being kept apart from our children — have made family time even more precious.

It took Alison and her assistant two days to trim the 8 ft artificial tree in the main living area with layers of luxurious gold, copper and bronze glass baubles, leaves, silk ribbons and lanterns.

there are matching garlands on the staircase, fireplace and over an archway between rooms, as well as hundreds of fairy lights.

We paid £500, which is an extravagan­ce in the current climate, but it has given me such a boost, as well as hope that at least some of us will be together at Christmas.

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