A DAZZLING display of Christmas lights outside a North Yorkshire couple’s home have been drawing ever increasing crowds for more than 20 years.
It all started one December in the late 1990s when Eric Marshall spent a few minutes placing a single illuminated Santa and sleigh in the garden of the home he shares with wife Jean in Bagby near Thirsk.
The small display drew the odd visitor and Mr Marshall bought more lights in the January sales.
His displays gradually became bigger and better every year.
This year, Mr Marshall, 77, has spent three weeks working eight-hours-a-day to cover his house and garden in thousands of Christmas lights and festive figures.
Mr Marshall, who worked as a printer for 43 years, said he genuinely has no idea how much money he has spent on the lights, or his electricity bills.
Mr Marshall’s efforts have raised thousands of pounds in visitor donations over the years for St Mary’s Church in Bagby.
Since this year’s switch-on, on December 1, hundreds of people from across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have made the trip to take in the multi-coloured festive spectacle.
A film crew from Hollywood filmed his house and garden for a documentary on Christmas lights in January 2010.
Mr Marshall, said: “I don’t like bragging, but I think they (the lights) are as good as anything there is.
“When they came from Hollywood they said they were one of the best two in England with another one down south.”
Mr Marshall has no plans to scale down the festive lights, adding: “I’m going to do it for as long as I can, because I love doing it. As long as I can keep active”.”
Mr Marshall has also built an ‘0’ gauge train track in his garden and runs steam trains, which were filmed for James May’s Toy Story TV show around four years ago.
The Christmas lights will be on outside the house in Bagby from 4.30pm to 10.30pm every day in December and up to and including Friday January 5.