A Perth couple are using their Christmas spirit to raise money for bone cancer research after the death of their nephew.
Alistair Smith and partner Grant MacDonald have become well-known on Beechgrove Place in Burghmuir for their spectacular lights displays.
And this year’s extravaganza has turned into a charity fundraiser after the death of their nephew, Gavin Russell, from Ewing sarcoma at the age of 20.
Alistair says his nephew was an “absolutely brilliant” person who was “always very positive” and “a sparkle in everyone’s life”.
He said: “We were saddened that our nephew passed away in September.
“Last year I remember Gavin visiting us to look at the lights and was so happy to see how we had brightened up the garden.
“There is so much research needed into bone cancer and how it affects teenagers.
“A charity called Liberty’s Legacy was set up – Liberty had Ewing sarcoma and passed away just after her 14th birthday, it is this charity we are fundraising for.”
Grant said: “One of Gavin’s wishes was that the story of Ewing sarcoma was made widely known, and that money for research continued to be raised.
“So before Gavin passed away we told him that we would raise money for research and that our Christmas display this year would be for Liberty’s Legacy, raising money for Ewing sarcoma.
“People often asked if we were doing it for charity, but up until now, we haven’t, it has just been for the enjoyment of putting up the displays.
“We have collected many lights over the years to display both inside and outside the house.”
Former Perth High School pupil Gavin was diagnosed with bone cancer in November 2014 aged 13.
Part of his treatment included removing his shoulder blade, which is where the cancer started.
Gavin was in remission following initial treatment and care, but was told earlier this year it had returned and was terminal.
A keen badminton player, one year Gavin was able to complete a 5km charity park run and was passionate about raising money for cancer charities.
He spent his last few months in Cornhill Macmillan Centre in Perth Royal Infirmary, continuing to virtually sign in to college when he was able.
His parents Lorraine and Craig, along with brother Fraser, switched on the Christmas lights.
Alistair says they put out their display every year “for the joy of bringing light and happiness to their neighbours at the darkest time of year”.
He said: “Last year at the darkest time of Covid lockdown, it was amazing to see so many people stop outside our house to look at the lights, and we began showing people round to see the lights around our building and in the garden.”
They buy new items every year to keep their displays fresh.
And with advances in technology, some of the lights are controlled by apps on their mobile phones.
Wifi has also been installed in the garden so that the lights can be controlled more efficiently.
Locals are being invited to look round the garden, take pictures and, if they can, donate either online or by scanning the QR code found on posters around the display.