Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Community in shock as organiser of charity Christmas lights passes away

Posted on Friday 5th April 2019 at 9:47 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Terry James.

Hundreds of people from across the Stokes and further afield have expressed shock and sadness at the news that Terry James, joint host of the famous Watch Elm Close charity Christmas lights, has died.

Together with partner Mike Checkley, Terry had helped raise thousands of pounds for charities, most recently St Peter’s Hospice, through collections made at their extravagant Christmas lights displays.

Announcing Terry’s passing on the Watch Elm Close Christmas Lights page on Facebook, Mike wrote:

“It is with sadness and joy that I share with you that my loving partner of 42 years died at 7pm on Tuesday 12th March 2019 very peacefully at home in his own bed where he wanted to be. He is now at peace. We will no longer be doing the Christmas lights but there is a new shining star in the sky. Thank you for your support for last year – we still can’t believe we raised £11,200. God bless you all.”

Well-wishers have left hundreds of comments of sympathy and support on the post, many of which mention the warm welcome they received when visiting the lights last year.

An online charity donation page has been set up in memory of Terry, collecting once again for St Peter’s Hospice. The address is

More: Photo of Terry and Mike at the launch event in December 2018 »

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Charity lights fundraising target smashed!

Posted on Sunday 10th February 2019 at 9:41 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a banner hanging on a gate, announcing the final amount of £11,223 raised for St Peter's Hospice.

A charity Christmas lights display at a home in Watch Elm Close, Bradley Stoke has raised almost three times its intended fundraising target, thanks to an incredible run of media interest which culminated in it being voted second best in the UK in a national TV poll.

The extravagant display, created by house owners Terry James and Mike Checkley, contained over 30,000 lamps.

To attract even more visitors, the couple staged a series of special ‘meet, greet and sweet’ nights where children were allowed into the garden to have their photo taken with costumed figures and receive a gift.

The display also attracted massed visits from local community groups, including Sole Sisters, North Bristol Running Group, the Scouts and a local gymnastics club.

When the display was first switched on in early December, the target was to raise £4,000 for St Peter’s Hospice, a Bristol charity which cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses. However, the attention generated by numerous media appearances meant that this was soon surpassed, resulting in the target being progressively raised to £9,000. Christmas Eve saw an astonishing £1,019 collected on one night alone and by the time the lights were switched off for the season on 1st January, the total collected had reached an astonishing £11,223!

Mike said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family, neighbours, the local community and the wider community too. The total raised has surpassed our wildest expectations and we understand that it is one of the largest amounts ever raised for Christmas charity lights in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.”

“We would like to sincerely thank everyone, but especially the local and national media, our sponsors and our neighbours who have been so supportive of the fundraising, despite a few traffic jams in the road!”

• Watch Elm Close Christmas Lights – Bradley Stoke page on Facebook

More: Photos of Mike & Terry and the Sole Sisters’ visit »

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National TV poll ranks Watch Elm Close lights second best in UK

Posted on Tuesday 1st January 2019 at 4:15 pm by SH (Editor)

Still from the live broadcast on ITV West Country News.

A charity Christmas lights display in Watch Elm Close, Bradley Stoke has been voted the second best in the UK in a national poll conducted by ITV This Morning.

The extravagant display, put up by house owners Terry James and Mike Checkley, has been on since 1st December. Since then, it has attracted huge interest, initially through social media and the local print media, but latterly also through live broadcasts on local radio and television.

The attention led to Terry and Mike’s display being nominated for the Best Christmas Lights in the UK poll organised by breakfast television show ITV This Morning, in which they finished as runners-up.

Terry said:

“The media interest has been phenomenal, with live broadcasts on BBC Points West, ITV West Country News and BBC Radio Bristol.”

The couple set themselves a target of raising £4,000 for St Peter’s Hospice but this was passed on 10th December, so it has now been raised to £6,000!

Mike said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the fantastic support from everyone so far and we continue to be amazed each evening when we count the money. St Peter’s Hospice is such a great charity and it is fabulous that the local and wider community have been so generous with their donations. We would like to thank everyone who has so kindly made a donation, either online or in the buckets on the gates.”

You might still just be able to catch the lights, as they will be on every night from 5pm to 9pm until 1st January 2019.

Donations can be made in the collecting buckets put out every night for the use of visitors who come to see the lights. They can also be made online via a My Donate page:

Watch Elm Close is off Baileys Court Road. Postcode: BS32 8AN [map]

More: Photo of Mike and Terry with the ITV West Country crew »

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Bradley Stoke charity lights are “biggest and best ever seen”

Posted on Monday 3rd December 2018 at 10:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Watch Elm Close charity Christmas lights display.

The owners of a Bradley Stoke house which has built up a reputation for staging extravagant Christmas lights displays are claiming to have created the “biggest and best display the town has ever seen” for 2018.

St Peter's Hospice.

Terry James and Mike Checkley have again transformed their home in Watch Elm Close into a Christmas wonderland to raise money for St Peter’s Hospice. This year’s display has over 30,000 lights and is now one of the biggest displays in the whole of Bristol and South Gloucestershire. New additions for 2018 include a herd of 12 reindeer, a new Merry Christmas silhouette, a new penguin silhouette and two new Santa silhouettes. In addition, the display for 2018 will include a large ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ silhouette and a ‘Santa Please Stop Here’ silhouette, together with an additional 4,000 bulbs within string and icicle lights.

Mike said: “We decided to raise money again for St Peter’s Hospice as they are a charity very close to our hearts. Most people know that they are a Bristol charity caring for adults with life-limiting illnesses both in the Hospice and at home, but they also support families and friends and teach other healthcare professionals about how to care for people at the end of their lives”. He added that “All of St Peter’s care is provided free of charge, but it costs around £20,000 a day to provide that care. In addition, St Peter’s ‘Room to Care’ Appeal is aimed at developing their new Inpatient Unit to meet the complex needs of patients in the 21st century”.

Terry and Mike, with the invaluable help of their window cleaner Kris, spend nearly four weeks putting the display together. “It’s a big task,” said Terry, “but, despite its size, we still aim to stay true to the theme of ‘A Classic Christmas’.”

“People come from across Bristol and South Gloucestershire to see the display and last year we also had people from Devon, Somerset and The Midlands visiting. The oldest person visiting last year was a very proud 97-year-old grandmother!”.

More: Terry and Mike have set themselves the goal of raising £4,000 »

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