Lighting up Harrogate’s own ‘Christmas house’

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A festive family home in Harrogate, covered in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights, has become a curious tourist attraction.

The semi-detached house on St Andrew’s Walk is covered every year in more than 15,000 lights, nodding Santas and sparkling stars by its owners Fred and Margaret Boreham.

Fred and Margaret Boreham's 'Christmas house' on St Andrew's Walk in Harrogate. (S)

Fred and Margaret Boreham's 'Christmas house' on St Andrew's Walk in Harrogate. (S)

And now, as it’s become such a local tradition for young families to visit, the home has been unofficially christened ‘Harrogate’s Christmas house’.

“It started with a couple of Father Christmases,” said grandfather of five Fred Boreham, who started buying the lights decades ago. “I put them out as the young ones walk past here on their way home from school. It’s just grown.”

There are now more than 15,000 lights in strings across the garden, on the roof, and in a special Santa’s grotto set up in the shed. There are also hundreds of Father Christmases, dozens of sleighs, trains, angels and more.

It takes Mr Boreham, with the help of his three sons, his daughter, and five grandchildren, five weeks to put up all the lights. And even then, it isn’t finished. Every day they need a little work.

“It’s been going a good few years,” said Mr Boreham, now 69. “But the electrician says we’re overloading now. I can’t keep buying anymore, we’ve got to stop.”

His wife Margaret, 71, agrees. “We’ve got that many now it’s just eating up the electricity!” she said, smiling. “But we pay it, it’s for a good cause.

“I keep threatening Fred I’m going to get him a rocking chair and a Father Christmas outfit, and sit him out there.

“We never thought it would get as big as this. I keep telling him we’ve got enough. But of course, he never listens.”

The couple’s gardens are open to families every day, with the lights on from 4.30pm to 10pm every day until New Year’s Day. A charity box is collecting donations for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Hundreds of people now travelling down the narrow street every evening to witness the festive displays, and even the neighbours have been knocking on the door to ask when they will start.

“We come home from school this way because we know they will be on,” said mum Christine Brindle, with ten-year-old son Sam. “They are fantastic, and I love that they do it for charity.”

Sisters Elizabeth and Shirley Ruddle walked from the town to see the special Santa’s grotto. And for the Hill family, mum Alison, three-year-old Rita, and four-year-old Stanley, the highlight was the brightly lit travelling train.

“It’s just fantastic,” said Mrs Hill. “We look forward to it every year.”