Family's Christmas lights charity drive back in all its glory
Meet the Tipping family - a shining example of the true spirit of Christmas.
Every year, the family, from Valentines Meadow in Cottam, Preston, mark the annual return of Father Christmas with their own festive lights spectacular.
Now in its sixth year, the visual yuletide extravaganza that dad Mark, mum Nicola and brothers Sam and Joe, bring to their local community is back.
And the family is continuing to use the joy that it brings to raise money for worthy local causes.
Scaffolding manager Mark Tipping said: “We don’t think there’s another private home in the country with decorations so high.
“My wife doesn’t like flashing lights either so all our display is steady, making it okay even for people who suffer light-triggered migraines!
“There’s lots of animation though, which children especially love.”
Last year the display’s wishing well charity box was the target of an attempted robbery, when youths on mopeds broke into the Tipping’s garden and attempted to smash it open.
Thankfully Mark had already emptied the box and the youths left empty handed, but no second chances are being taken this time around.
Mark said: “The wishing well is emptied every day and had already been emptied when the attempted theft happened.
“This year though we have upped security.
“A local company called Vuetek in Fylde Road has donated a high security camera to us so there is CCTV covering the whole of the house.”
Since the family started the switch-on events, more than Â£50,000 has been raised and shared between four local charities; the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, Derian House Children’s Hospice, Preston Headway and the Jordan Grant 18 Memorial Fund.
The big switch-on for 2017 took place last Sunday and the lights will stay illuminated until Sunday, January 7.
The family’s work in the community attracted national recognition in 2015 when they were presented with the British Citizenship Award at the House of Lords in London.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron also invited the Tippings to Number 10 in the same year to present Mark and Nicola with the Point of Light Award, a prime minister’s office award that recognises outstanding volunteer work.
Mark said: “That was an amazing experience, which came totally unexpected.”