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Walsall charity winter wonderland lights up Christmas for 33rd year running

A Walsall family has gone ahead with their charity winter wonderland display for the 33rd year in a row – despite the cost of living crisis.

Nick and Julia Barnard from Westbrook Avenue, Aldridge, with their amazing Christmas decorations. They have been doing it for charity for over 30 years. Pictured with the couple is their son Ben..
Nick and Julia Barnard from Westbrook Avenue, Aldridge, with their amazing Christmas decorations. They have been doing it for charity for over 30 years. Pictured with the couple is their son Ben..

The Barnard family, of Westbrook Avenue, Aldridge, have turned their home into a tourist attraction this Christmas, with families coming up to see the festive display.

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, Nick and Julia Barnard have even reopened the much-loved Santa's Grotto, where kids can meet jolly Saint Nick and his family of elves.

Patriarch of the Barnard family, Nick, 64, said: "We haven't been open very long but we have had a few people come around in the last few nights.

Nick dressed as Santa in his grotto

"We are doing this event for Acorn Hospice Walsall, Help Keep Tummies Full, as well as some other charities. We raised around £1,800 last year, but we know people are struggling with bills so whatever we get will be a big bonus."

This year marks the 33rd time that the family has put on the display, which utilises mostly LED lights and figurines to help keep costs down.

This year it features an extra special Santa's Grotto, where Father Christmas will be sitting to hand out toys and take donations for local charities.

The Christmas display in Westbrook Avenue, Aldridge

Nick said: "I'll be manning and helping Santa every weekend, and some weekdays when the weather is okay. We have also put a donation box in the grotto for anyone that wants to give a little extra."

He added: "So far we don't know how the energy bills have changed with the lights, we are using LEDs which are low wattage so that should help.

The Christmas display in Westbrook Avenue, Aldridge

"Christmas lights play a big role in keeping spirits up. Honestly, I have seen more lights this year than ever before. I think people are just fed up with the cost of living crisis and going ahead with the lights."

Anyone looking to visit the winter wonderland or donate to the Barnard families fundraiser can see the lights at Westbrook Avenue,Walsall.

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