Derry street to light up for Christmas to raise money for Hospice and Macmillan
What started off as ‘Mrs Claus’ decorating her house for fun has now grown into the whole community getting involved to provide a magical Christmas experience for people young and old, while raising money for people in need. This year, the residents are fundraising for Foyle Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.
‘Mrs Claus’’ daughter, ‘Elfie’ explains how her mum got started: “My mammy and daddy started decorating their house a few years ago, it began with the windows and every year they did a bit more, going round the fence and putting things in the garden. The neighbours across the street got involved too, putting snowmen in their garden and they all got the bug for it. They had people coming to the houses and asking to make donations but at that stage they were just doing it for fun.
"About three years ago, a fundraiser was set up to help the daughter of someone who lives on the street get treatment for FND. They decided that year to raise money for her and that’s how the fundraisers began."
Amelia Court raised £2,500 in their first year for the FND fundraiser.
Last year, ‘Mrs Claus’’ sister was diagnosed with cancer and was told she had six months to a year to live. This inspired the residents to fundraise for Foyle Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.
‘Elfie’ continued: “Last November my auntie took sick and was taken into the hospital. By the middle of December, we got the word to say that she only had two weeks left to live. My auntie was dying in hospital in the run up to Christmas but my mammy was still standing in the garden every single night in December and none of the visitors knew. We began fundraising for the Foyle Hospice, not knowing that our loved-one would be admitted to the hospice on December 19.”
The residents raised £3,500 last year for Foyle Hospice and Macmillan. Unfortunately, ‘Elfie’s’ auntie passed away on December 29 2022. The residents feel ‘inspired’ to continue to fundraise for both charities this year to remember everyone who has passed from cancer.
"We're really pushing on this year because there’s other people on the street that have lost people to cancer as well. Foyle Hospice has a special place in the hearts of so many people in this city and they have been a lifeline for ourselves and many, many others. We’re doing this for the collective legacy of everyone who has passed away from cancer.
"This is a massive group effort by everyone in and around Amelia Court and we all just love getting in the community spirit. It’s lovely to put a smile on people’s faces at this time of the year, especially knowing we’re doing it for such a good cause too.”
"Preparations began in July this year to get everything ready and the whole street has been chipping in to lend a hand.”
Amelia Court’s Christmas lights will be officially switched on this Friday, December 1 at 7pm. From Friday on, Mr and Mrs Claus will be out every day from 6pm to 9pm with selection boxes for all the children. For more information, visit Amelia Court Christmas Lights Facebook page.