Hundreds of people braved the cold and huddled together to watch the switch-on of what has become one of the biggest and most popular Christmas lights displays in the Horsham district.
It is the eighth time Chris and Julie Clark, of Meadow Farm Lane, Horsham, have transformed their home into a festive extravaganza for charity.
Around 600 locals gathered in the street to witness the much-anticipated switch-on at 7.30pm on Friday (November 22).
Chris said the display has doubled in size from last year after taking advantage of his neighbours’ kind offer to sprawl his lights onto their land.
“It was absolutely amazing - it couldn’t have gone better,” said Chris, 45, who believes the decorations will rack up an extra £3 on his electricity bill every day they are on.
The couple have been putting up the lights for 19 years but decided to devote the decorations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK after a close friend died from Leukaemia aged 30.
More than £4,000 was raised in 2012.
The lights are on every day from 4pm to midnight until January 6.
Forming the centre piece of this year’s display - which has been around five months in the making - is a homemade Santa bobsleigh with materials kindly donated by Jewson builders merchant.
Chris also wanted to thank Sainsbury’s - which donated 500 mince pies - and Tesco - which gave away 30 bottles of mulled wine - for Friday’s event.
A total of £3,795 was raised at the opening night. The Clarks hope to smash their previous record and raise as much as possible for the good cause.
Chris said: “Julie and I have been totally overwhelmed by the help and support we have received this year, not only from many good friends and neighbours, but also from many companies in and around the town, including Jewson who donated all the materials to make an eight-foot long Santa sleigh.
“Brewers who donated the paint to paint it, Sainsbury’s for donating 500 puff pastry mince pies baked fresh in store on Friday morning, Tesco for donating 30 bottles of mulled wine, SL2 and so many others who also donated some of the 54 fantastic raffle prizes.
“Amongst the many great prizes were an overnight stay for two people at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding, won by John and Barbara Rainbow, a set of Makita power tools worth over £1,000, won by Dave Webber, a day out for four people around the Solent in a Princess 420 luxury yacht, won by Helen Bradley, afternoon tea for two at Cisswood House Hotel, a blu-ray dvd player, four separate rounds of golf at four different clubs, spa days, beauty treatments, vouchers and many, many more great prizes.”
He added: “We would just like to publicly thank each and every individual and company who have supported us with our appeal so far this year and helped to make our big switch-on event a major success, as well as everyone who has made a donation or bought raffle tickets.”
Members of the public are encouraged to enjoy the display and make a small donation in the wishing well.