Lung charity benefits from Christmas lights reader poll

Bradley Stoke "best Christmas lights" cheque presentation.

The winners of our Bradley Stoke ‘Best Christmas Lights’ 2012 reader poll have nominated the British Lung Foundation (BLF) to receive the charity donation of £100 that was generously offered by local law firm Hutchinson Legal & Associates.

Householders Ron and Penny Bidder of 1 Great Meadow Way, the house judged by Journal readers to have the best lights in town, say they chose the BLF because Ron himself suffers from a serious lung condition and they have been very impressed with the support they have received from the charity.

Penny was presented with the cheque last Friday, hours before their impressive lights display was dismantled for another year.

The impressive winning display was formed of 10 strings of white icicle lights and 12 sets of coloured lights, with each string incorporating four to five hundred bulbs. A day and a half was needed to put it all up.

Presenting the cheque, Paul Hutchinson commented:

“Hutchinson Legal & Associates is a fervent supporter of Remember a Charity and the chance to sponsor an event such as this was an excellent opportunity to support a worthwhile cause in the same way that our clients are encouraged to support charitable causes.”

“The quality of all the entries and in particular the finalists was staggering. The time, effort and patience that went into creating the beautiful and impressive displays is very commendable.”

In our reader poll, the Great Meadow Road property attracted 144 votes, representing 45% of the 322 total votes cast. The four other properties selected for the poll were in Watch Elm Close (71 votes), Juniper Way (50 votes), Tarragon Place (30 votes) and Wheatfield Drive (28 votes).

Couple are long-standing community Christmas supporters

The winning couple were amongst the very first residents of Bradley Stoke, having moved to the town in 1991, and they have been involved in community Christmas activities since the early days. Penny was Chairwoman of the Bradley Stoke Community Association (BSCA) in the 1990s, when the group organised a ‘best Christmas lights’ competition that was judged in successive years by local MPs (Doug Naysmith and Steve Webb) and the manager of the Bradley Stoke Tesco store. Needless to say that the Bidders won the competition in three out of four years!

In 1997, the BSCA arranged for a colourful, brightly-lit train called the Santa Express to be towed round the town, raising money for the Anthony Clifford Trust, a children’s cancer charity. A cutting from the Bristol Evening Post (below) shows the enthusiastic Ron standing on the front of the train dressed as Santa.

Bradley Stoke Santa Express, featuring Ron Bidder as Santa.

Ron stood as a Conservative on the Town Council for three years in the 1990s and is well known for charity work that has seen him take part in the ‘International Aid’ programme to Chernobyl and make many visits to Russia on behalf of children’s charities.

Speaking about his impressive Christmas light displays, he told The Journal:

“We do it for all the kids around here. We used to have a post box for letters to Santa in the garden and Penny would reply to every one.”

“We’ve toned things down a bit in recent years due to the building work we been doing on the house but I’m hoping to have a bigger display next year now that we’ve completed the extension.”

In previous years, Ron has made his own timer control circuits for the lights and constructed frames to hold parts of the display on the roof and walls.

The best Christmas lights display in Bradley Stoke for 2012.

See all the candidates displays here: Best Christmas Lights 2012

Roll on Christmas 2013!

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  1. Received today from the British Lung Foundation:

    On behalf of the British Lung Foundation (BLF), I would like to thank the Bradley Stoke Journal and Hutchinson Legal & Associates for the generous donation of £100. We rely entirely on voluntary donations such as yours to continue our work so thank you.

    One person in five in the UK is affected by lung disease. Millions more are at risk. We are the UK’s lung charity and we are here for every one of them, whatever their condition. Lung disease can be frightening and debilitating. We offer hope and support at every step so that no one has to face it alone. We promote greater understanding of lung disease and we campaign for positive change in the nation’s lung health. We fund vital research, so that new treatments and cures can help to save lives.

    We are leading the fight against lung disease.

    We hope you will continue to support the work of The British Lung Foundation; you can do this is by supporting our campaigns or taking part in other events. Please visit our website for more information and for updates about our support work and current research.

    Thank you for your support.

    Dominic Papineau
    Corporate Partnerships Officer

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