Preston man turns his lounge into a Wicked spectactular in memory of nan

The impressive Christmas display honours a promise to his grandmother.

By Aimee Seddon
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 10:56 am

A man from Fishwick, Preston has transformed his lounge into a scene from Wicked this Christmas, in memory of his late step-grandmother.

Over the years, it had become a Christmas tradition for Wayne Bamber, 46, to decorate his lounge in various spectacular ways for his nan, Margaret Bennet, who always loved the theatricality of his displays.

Although Wayne planned to surprise his nan with a Wicked themed room this year, Margaret sadly passed away in September, aged 94, however he decided to still continue the tradition in her honour.

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Wayne Bamber has turned his lounge into a Wicked display in honour of this late nan.

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Wayne, who works for Akinika in Preston, said: "She's been my step-nan since I was three, she took on me, my brother and sister like we were her own, she was always there for us when we were children, nothing was too much trouble, and she was basically always a nice person, everybody really cared for her all her life, everyone on the street loved her - she was just a lovely woman.

"So for the past few years, I started doing mad Christmas displays, because she loved the theatre and anything to do with Christmas, so the first one was Harry Potter themed, and as soon as she walked into the lounge, it took her breath away, and then last year, I did Phantom of the Opera and she ended up just standing up and clapping, and I was in hysterics, because I loved her reactions, they were always priceless.

"After last Christmas passed, nan asked what I was doing this year, and I said Wicked and it's going to be bigger and better than ever, but I'm not going to tell you much, because I want you to have a surprise, and every time I went down, she’d ask what I’d been up to, but then September came and unfortunately, she passed away on my great niece's first birthday. It was so unexpected, the whole family was just in shock, so after we'd gone through the grieving process, I said to my stepmom, I don't know whether to do it or not still, and she said, 'you've come too far to give up, your nan will be looking down', so I finished it and when my stepmother saw it, she was like, 'wow, your nan would have absolutely loved it.'"

Wayne's nan, Margaret, last Christmas, next to his Phantom of the Opera Tree.

Wayne started on this year's Christmas display in April, and it includes a yellow brick road, figures of the two main characters, Elphaba and Glinda, a dragon, as well as a Wicked themed tree and fireplace.

His other displays have had themes including wildlife, masquerade and 'Time Gone By', whilst his initial Harry Potter theme featured a sorting hat on top of the tree, and last year's Phantom of the Opera scene had smoke machines, music, and a chandelier that would light up on the floor, then lift up and go across the ceiling, rest up there and then come crashing back down in a true theatrical fashion.

Although Margaret is unable to see this Christmas' spectacular scene, Wayne says it still brings joy to many others instead, mostly...

Wayne, who shares his home with six rescue cats, explained: "It has everything to do with my nan, it's all for her, but I like doing it, and I've got family members who love it, my two little great nieces, Madison and Holly, who are 15 months, are coming to see it on Sunday, they’ll get their pictures taken and watch it all going because it's all interactive, there’s smoke machines, bubble machines, laser lighting, snow effects, cogs that turn, and the dragon moves and roars.

This year's Wicked theme decorations, including a dragon and cogs that move!

"It is basically for the family but the neighbours also sometimes have a look, and people at my work think it’s incredible, so everyone's always like 'wow'.

"But when the cats come in, they're just like looking around lost, and then they don't like the dragon, when that moves they're just out!"

Wayne started on the Wicked display in April.
On the left is Wayne's Harry Potter themed Christmas tree, and to the right, his 'magical' Phantom of the Opera chandelier.