Grandparents who cover their home in Christmas lights each year raise £25,000 for charities that helped grandson when he suffered epilepsy

PUBLISHED: 18:12 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:12 18 February 2020

Soham grandparents Helen and John Attlesey, who completely cover their home in lights each Christmas, have raised a record-breaking £1,800 for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices charity. Pictured are Jacob Attlesey, EACH’s Karen Newton and Jake Attlesey. Picture: MICHAEL JARVIS

Soham grandparents Helen and John Attlesey, who completely cover their home in lights each Christmas, have raised a record-breaking £1,800 for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices charity. Pictured are Jacob Attlesey, EACH’s Karen Newton and Jake Attlesey. Picture: MICHAEL JARVIS

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Two Soham grandparents who completely cover their home in lights each Christmas have raised £25,000 in eight years for the charities that helped their grandson when he suffered from epilepsy.

Soham grandparents Helen and John Attlesey, who completely cover their home in lights each Christmas, have raised a record-breaking £1,800 for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices charity. Picture: MICHAEL JARVISSoham grandparents Helen and John Attlesey, who completely cover their home in lights each Christmas, have raised a record-breaking £1,800 for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices charity. Picture: MICHAEL JARVIS

Helen and John Attlesey, who have been displaying Santas, snowmen and reindeers since 2012, have raised thousands in donations for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and Dreamflight.

Each of the charities supported the retired couple's grandson Jake when, aged six, he started suffering from a serious form epilepsy.

Seizures, occurring once every hour during the worst period, meant Jake stopped walking, talking, eating and drinking.

He was given 12 to 18 months to live, but surgery to remove part of his brain eventually stopped the seizures and allowed Jake, who is now 17, to get back on his feet.

Helen, who lives with John in Julius Martin Lane, said: "It all started off as just a bit of fun, but it's grown and grown each year.

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"We have to start putting the display up in September now as there are so many lights and wall features.

"We'd like to thank our friends Cora and Roger for helping us put up the display and to all the wonderfully generous people who donate."

The couple, along with Jake, recently returned to EACH's hospice in Milton to give the charity its £1,877 share of the money that was raised from the 2019 display.

GOSH and Dreamflight received equal amounts, while Highfield Ely Academy, where Jake is a student, got £102.74.

Karen Newton, EACH community fundraising manager, said: "We're so grateful to Helen and John for continuing to give back to us, and it was great to see them along with Jacob recently.

"What they do is incredible and that's clear from how those who visit give so generously.

"From our Milton hospice, we currently offer care to 135 children and young people with life-threatening conditions, as well as support to 96 family members, and we simply couldn't do this without the efforts of people like Helen and John."

For more information about EACH click here.


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