Leven family light up Christmas in memory of much-loved friend

More than 8,000 festive lights twinkle on the Fife home of Richard and Eileen Simpson.

© DC Thomson
Aileen Simpson and son Fraser Simpson outside their decorated home in Coldstream Crescent, Leven.

Each one is a reminder of their friend Les Rae, who lost his life to cancer in October, helping to raise money in his memory.

The couple, who are well-known in Leven for their impressive illuminations, had decided to tone down their decorations for 2017.

But when Les passed away they were inspired to make this year special and help the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy, which provides vital support for people fighting cancer.

When Les’ granddaughter Sophia, 7, switched on the lights at their home in Coldstream Crescent, they raised £1,500, more than double the £600 total raised last year for Rachel House.

For the first time, Richard and Eileen have launched a fund raising page online and Richard said: “The response has been fantastic.

For more Christmas news and competitions, visit www.besteverchristmas.co.uk

“We had about 70 people here for the switch-on and raised £1,500 on Saturday alone.”

Installing the strings of lights is such an undertaking Richard starts the job in November.

He said: “I do a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there. It must take about three days in total. There are 8,000 and a bit lights this year.”

Richard began putting up lights outside the family home when his children were young and his collection snowballed.

Every wall, doorway, window frame and tree is bedecked, and strings of bulbs run across the roof.

Although his son and daughter are grown-up now, aged 23 and 20, he still likes to put on his display as a treat for other youngsters.

He said: “All the local kids come round to see. My wife works in a primary school and the children are always talking about the lights and asking when they are going to go on.”

Although they don’t have a donation box outside the house, Richard said people often leave donations for the cause they are supporting.

He said: “Lots and lots of cars come past and people stop and knock on the door or put money through the letterbox.”

For more Christmas news and competitions, visit www.besteverchristmas.co.uk