Hundreds descend on sleepy Dagenham street for charity Christmas lights switch-on
PUBLISHED: 19:00 05 December 2018
Hundreds flocked to a sleepy Dagenham cul-de-sac on Sunday for a charity Christmas lights switch-on.
An estimated 1,800 people watched former West Ham defender Steve Potts put Lowry Road in the spotlight by opening the dazzling display featuring superheroes, Disney princesses and more than 40,000 light bulbs.
The spectacle was down to Andy McNab, 51, who has roped in family, friends and neighbours since 2000 to line the street with light almost every December.
Each year, he told the Post, the show grows “bigger and better”, with a “massive array” of characters now adorning a block of six houses.
In the father-of-five’s latest creation, a homemade catamaran decked in Christmas lights floats on a sea of blue tarpaulin in the front garden, surrounded by life-size cutouts of characters from animated film Moana. There’s a starry backdrop and an enchanted fishing line lit up like the night’s sky.
A stroll down the pavement passes crimefighters the Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow, all from Marvel comicbook crimefighters the Avengers, the cast of Disney’s Frozen and classic cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse.
Lights hang down from the building, running along the picket fences and up a silverbirch tree in the centre.
“In the tree alone there are 6,000 lights,” said Andy.
He estimated “at least” 40,000 lights in the display altogether — adding, “maybe a little bit less, maybe a little more, I don’t know. I can’t really count them.”
Planning for each display begins in February, when Andy sketches the setup. Displays are then built at go up piece by piece over the months.
About 20 people worked to produce this year’s show, including Grant Mitchell, of Champs Tattoo Parlour in Green Lane, who made the models.
Their efforts are in aid of child burn victims at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.
Helpers collect donations and sell tickets for the hospital’s Children’s Burns Club, with prizes announced in the New Year. There’s even a wishing well for well-wishers wishing to spare some change.
“We just thought we’d try and help them again this year,” said Andy.
The displays have raised £24,000 for the Club, he estimates.