Rather than exchange expensive gifts, the grandparents of a Flintshire boy have turned their home into a luminous grotto in a heart-warming Christmas gesture.
Bob and Pat Connor, from Pentre, have enjoyed producing a festive light display for more than 30 Christmases, spending money on new pieces each year as opposed to presents for one another.
This year, the couple decided to “go a little crazy” and go all out with the best display to date – all in aid of a personal charity appeal.
Pat explained that her six-year-old grandson attends Ysgol Pen Coch, Flint, a school dedicated to teaching children with special needs.
Pat said: “With austerity looming, and so many causes for grief and sadness dominating the news so regularly we have decided to make an extra special effort to spread some Christmas joy.
“This year’s cause is very close to my heart as my grandson attends Ysgol Pen Coch, and I know they’re in need of a particular kind of equipment.
“So we decided to fundraise for the school, who have a trampolining facility within the school but which is unfortunately raised four foot off the ground.
“Some children are unable to use it because they can’t get up there and others can’t use it because if they bounced they would hit their heads on the ceiling.
“These restrictions mean a lot of children are not receiving rebound therapy, which can help with muscle tone and overall wellbeing, breathing, and circulation.
“The trampoline needs to be sunk into the ground by four foot so more children can access it.”
This amendment would cost approximaely £65,000 which the grandparents know “won’t happen all at once.”
They said they are trying to do their bit and raise awareness of the cause through their Christmas light display which is reportedly bright enough to “divert planes flying into Hawarden airport”.
Pat said the “double whammy” is that her neighbours, one of which is appropriately a scaffolder, has decided to support the cause and deck their exterior to create a
semi-detached bundle of light.
Pat said: “This year we thought we would go a bit further for the fundraiser.
“The amount of people who come up to us and say ‘thank goodness you’ve put your lights up – now it’s Christmas’ is remarkable.
Ange Anderson, headteacher, said she has been attempting for many years to install the trampoline at floor level and has been “exhausted” and “depressed” after failing to get the go ahead from Flintshire Council due to pitfalls in the floor. But after contacting the company who built the school, the plans have been made possible.
She said: “This is about raising enough funds for having the trampoline open for adult trampoline lessons, who attend the facility every evening of the week.
“With the trampoline sunk into the floor, we can have carers and people who are ambulant use it too. It will replace the current small one in the school yard which is just about big enough to support one wheelchair and isn’t what we need.
“This is about equal rights for every child as most of our pupils are disabled, they may not be able to excel academically but they deserve ever opportunity in sports.”
To support Ysgol Pen Coch charity with their new equipment, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/ fundraisers/christmaslightsfoypc