AN ELECTRIFYING Christmas tradition is to be revived to raise money for charity. The epic Christmas lights outside the home at the corner of Homestead Way and King Henry's Drive were a sight to behold for nearly 20 years between 1984 and 2004. But when the display's creator Derek Hopkinson died from cancer aged 66, the tradition sadly went with him. Now his son Alex Hopkinson is reviving the show in memory of his dad and to raise money for St Christopher's Hospice which cared so well for him. He has been dusting off and preparing the festive lights for one month and his show now numbers some 10,000 lights including beaming Santas and nativity scenes. Mr Hopkinson will be hosting a switch-on ceremony at 7pm on Sunday with local youngster Ellie Gardner doing the honours amid a host of surprise treats. Mr Hopkinson said: "My father used to love that time of year - I think it was one of the best times of year for him - he loved people's reactions and their faces when they saw the lights. "People are already stopping to take photos when they pass, and that is when the lights are switched off." A collection box will be placed next to Father Christmas for St Christopher's Hospice, of which Mr Hopkinson said: ""They really looked after my father; they were excellent - they were there to support us and they really helped us out." In 1997 his father's show won the award for best Christmas lights in the south-east in a competition run by ITV. Back then, Mr Hopkinson added, the electricity bill for the lights used to be about £150. Now it is "probably more," he agreed.
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