Annual Christmas lights display sees Northampton couple raise thousands for charity

It all started with a set of It's a Gift Christmas lights and a tree at one festive home in Duston, which has been raising funds for charity for the past four years.

Melanie and Nick Phipps of Vienne Close each year decorate their house top-to-toe in Christmas lights, giant inflatable Santas and snowmen to raise a smile within the community.

The display in Duston has got bigger and better over the last 20 years.

The display in Duston has got bigger and better over the last 20 years.

The pair leave a charity donation bucket on their doorstep and invite families to take a wander up their driveway and donate a few pennies to those who one day might be in need.

"Each year it has got bigger and bigger and then it amounted to lights everywhere," their daughter Vicki Phipps said.

"It takes my dad about three weeks to do it - he is an engineer, it takes precision. Bless them, they work really hard to make sure it's successful every year. There's lots of inflatables, Father Christmas in a helicopter and a new teddy bear inflatable.

"My parents have a private drive but people are welcome to go on and walk up the drive and have a look and enjoy the lights."

Melanie and Nick Phipps of Vienne Close raise money for charity every year through their Christmas light display.

Melanie and Nick Phipps of Vienne Close raise money for charity every year through their Christmas light display.

Although the Christmas lights have been there for about 20 years, the couple have been raising money for charity for four years now and have raised more than £4,000.

Money can also be donated through a Just Giving page here.

"Obviously it was not as big as what it is, I'm 30 now but for the last 15 years it has got bigger to the point where it's hard to find the room to put everything."

"I think we raised £400 last year, that's just for the Christmas lights but as a family, in the summer my parents open their house up and have a family fun day and a tombola and raffle."

Melanie is also knitting Saints and Cobblers dolls, which will also be sold for charity.