A COUPLE have encouraged their neighbours to light up their houses to raise money for charity this Christmas.

Tina and Bill Symmonds have brought Christmas to their close in Portslade, asking other homes to join them in their festive displays.

For the last few years each house off from Thornbush Crescent, as well as the communal lawn, has been lit up with bright lights and festive decorations in order to raise money for charity.

This year the proceeds are going to Purple People's Kitchen Food Bank in Portslade, with over a 50 bags of shopping already donated.

Bill, 72, who is retired, began to decorate his home 15 years ago and now 20 other houses are taking part.

The Argus: Thornbush Crescent, Portslade, Christmas lights for charity.

He said: "It started small, it was just me and two other neighbours, and it's just got bigger and bigger as more neighbours joined me. I love Christmas, I just love it."

Last year was the first time that Tina and Bill decided to raise money for charity, they saw huge success as it was outdoors and Covid restrictions meant it was one of few things people could do.

Tina, 67, who works for the council said: "It means a lot. This is night 15 and so far we've raised over £700 in cash and have taken over 50 bags of shopping to the food bank, and I've also done two big click and collect orders for them as well."

The Argus: Thornbush Crescent, Portslade, Christmas lights for charity.

Overall the residents raised more than £1,800 and donated over 200 bags of shopping last year, but Tina says they are not expecting as much this year due to not being in lockdown - they are hoping to hit the £1,000 mark though.

Bill has built up his collection of trees and inflatable decorations over the years, they are now all positioned across the lawn which is fenced off for health and safety reasons.

The display takes around eight weeks to set up and two weeks to bring down, Tina says they try not to think about the electricity bill.

As the display grew the neighbours quickly ran out of space to store the pieces and have had to purchase storage spaces for them.

The Argus: Thornbush Crescent, Portslade, Christmas lights for charity.

Tina said: "It's all about the foodbank, they're looking after around 100 families a week and they need as much help as they can get.

"This year they're asking for cranberry sauce, apple sauce, mint sauce, gravy mix - and with other donations as well they're giving everyone a Christmas and Boxing Day dinner."

The lights go off on January 3 and people can donate cash via the pots in front of number 37 and also bags of food can also be given.