Christmas lights help raise a smile for birthday girl - and some much needed funds for Swings and Smiles charity
A family home has been transformed into a winter wonderland in a bid to raise a smile for a Christmas birthday – and raise some money for a local charity.
Lauren Quine now has hundreds of festive friends, including her daughter's favourity unicorn, welcoming people to her Wickham garden.
The family have been decorating their home with hundreds of lights since their first daughter’s first birthday – on Christmas Day 2017 – and this year they decided to try to raise some much needed cash for charity, Swings and Smiles, at the same time.
“Our first daughter was born on Christmas Day so we started doing it to make Christmas Day more special for her,” the mother of three explained. “It started off really, really small, just for her benefit and then each year we’ve added more and more.
“This year was the first year we have thought we could also use it as a reason to raise money for a local charity. We wanted to raise money for something local so we asked for recommendations and Swings and Smiles came up quite a lot.
“So we looked into it and we love what it stands for. It’s about the children and that’s what we wanted.
“It’s nice that people around here will benefit and they are all really lovely.
“Even if we raise just a small amount of money we know it can go a long way; it’s great.”
The family – including dad Luke Wilkins, birthday girl Olivia and younger siblings Sophia and Louis – all “absolutely love it”.
It took around two weeks for the display to be constructed and they enjoyed an official switch on of the lights on November 28 – postponed by a day due to the bad weather that weekend.
“It was really magical, because just as the lights came on the snow started falling,” Ms Quine added. “It made it even more special.”
The family said that everyone is welcome to visit their garden on Mant Close, in Wickham and can go into the garden to take photos next to the display.
They just ask that people are respectful of their property and keep off the grass.
There is also a donation box where you can add a contribution to Swings and Smiles if you would like to.