One million Christmas lights man ends display over safety fears
Nov. 5, 2019, 8:02 a.m.
Originally published in:
BBC News Home on Nov. 5, 2019, 8:02 a.m.
The house and garden in Cambridgeshire has been lit up every year since 2014
A man who decorated his house and garden with a million Christmas lights, raising more than £55,000 for charity, has pulled the plug on it this year claiming "it got too big to handle".
Robert Dempsey and his wife have been making the Cambridgeshire village of Turves twinkle since 2014.
However, a lack of volunteers to direct visitors and a few "near misses" on narrow roads meant he decided to call it a day.
He said he was "very sad" about it.
The festive illuminations covering the three-acre garden and the family's house usually take Mr Dempsey about a month to put up.
It was reportedly the largest private display in the country, he said, and attracted visitors every night, and "thousands at weekends".
Visitors over the years have made donations to Cancer Research UK, a charity chosen by Mr Dempsey, who lost both his parents to the disease.
However, this year there will be no lavish display.
"We didn't have a lot of choice - it got too big for us to handle," Mr Dempsey said.
He said it took seven volunteers and family members to "act as human traffic lights" on the road to the house, but two of them decided they no longer wanted to do it.
Some helpers had been subjected to abuse from people who did not want to wait to come in and see the lights, he said.
The house is down a single track road and he said: "The bigger we got the more problematic that got."
We even advertised it as a £10-an-hour job but we couldn't get people to help."
"It was my determination to raise as much money for Cancer Research UK as I could, and that's what I did, "Mr Dempsey said.
"I did my bit."