Family’s festive lights display thanks Padua Ward staff for their care

John Parker's Christmas lights display. Image shows a house and garden covered in Christmas lights of all colours and shapes

Published 9 December 2022

Poorly children will benefit from a family’s festive lights display after they decided to raise money for Padua Ward at the William Harvey Hospital.

John and Judy Parker, of Reed Avenue, Canterbury, chose the ward after one of their nine grandchildren had chemotherapy treatment there.

John, a retired painter and decorator, started putting up the decorations at the start of November, and they are now on show from 6-9pm every night. On Friday and Saturday evenings there is a lucky dip for children and families can also come into the garden and sit on a specially made sleigh for some festive photos.

Judy said: “It started with just a row of lights and it just grew from there.

“Now we add something new every year and it takes three or four weeks to put the whole lot up.

“John has built a lot of it himself, including the sleigh and reindeers, as well as other decorations from pool noodles made to look like candy canes.

“The children love it, and we love doing it and seeing how people react.”

The family decided to combine their display with fundraising three years ago and have previously collected for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, and St Nicholas’ school in Canterbury.

Judy said: “Our grandchild was in and out of Padua Ward so we know how amazing the teams there are and we wanted to help other children who need treatment there.

“Thankfully John is happy going up and down ladders because of his previous work, and he has a special platform that makes it all easier.

“He’s had two knee replacements but he’s up and down there like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t see us stopping any time soon – we just might have to start putting the lights up earlier as we get older!”

People can leave money in collection buckets at the house, or donate online at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/judy-and-john-christmas-lights-2022?fbclid=IwAR2a_D5Uuefq1r_Z5MQO5vtjhODXiuAZq8B_6U7wrQHgw33Lf_zy3nB9yJ0

Proceeds will go to East Kent Hospitals Charity’s child health appeal, to buy toys and equipment for children on Padua ward.

Dee Neligan, senior charity officer for East Kent Hospitals Charity, said: “We are so impressed to see the fantastic festive lights display created by John and Judy and delighted they have chosen to raise money for Padua Ward.

“It’s no fun being ill at any time of the year but it can be particularly hard at Christmas. Thanks to generous donations and fundraising like this we can buy toys and games to help distract children and young people and make them smile.

“It really will make a huge difference to families on the ward and we are hugely grateful for everyone’s support.”