Edinburgh husband keeps promise to late wife with dazzling Christmas lights show

0
Have your say

He has been putting the magic into Christmas in Bonnyrigg for more than a decade - putting smiles upon thousands of faces as Santa in his own winter wonderland.

But Davie Brown says this year will be his last after wowing locals young and old at his Polton Street home for the past 11 years, raising £24,000 for Marie Curie in the process.

The grotto of Santa Davie Brown of Bonnyrigg who has been lighting up the town for over 10 years. Pic: P1 pupil Brook Louden from  local Hawthornden Primary

The grotto of Santa Davie Brown of Bonnyrigg who has been lighting up the town for over 10 years. Pic: P1 pupil Brook Louden from local Hawthornden Primary

His beloved wife Anne died in August this year following a long battle with COPD and Davie feels he can no longer continue his spectacular display after spending his retired life caring for her.

The 62-year-old began his festive lights in 2007 with just £200 to raise the spirits of Anne, who had become ill. Over the years and thousands of pounds later an almighty seven generators are now used power up to 3000 lights in his front garden.

He is astonished at how the festivities have grown and admits it will be hard to give it up after becoming part of his annual Christmas tradition.

Davie said: “I will miss it a lot. It was my last promise to Anne before she died that I would continue to do it this year. I’m a man of principle and so I decided that this year will be my last.

The grotto of Santa Davie Brown of Bonnyrigg who has been lighting up the town for over 10 years

The grotto of Santa Davie Brown of Bonnyrigg who has been lighting up the town for over 10 years

“When my wife was alive we did it together. And planned it out. Anne was my Mrs Claus. She loved Christmas and loved the lights.

“I started doing this 11 years ago to boost Anne’s morale. I came up with the idea of the lights and she loved it. I started off with £200 and I never could have anticipated how the idea has just grown and grown each year. I love to see the bairns’ faces. It’s absolutely amazing to see them all filled with happiness. It’s great that I help children believe in Santa and keep the magic alive.

“Every year my wife and I got a kick out of seeing their faces when they met Santa Claus and got sweets. That’s what I will miss. Seeing their faces and my wife at the window looking down.”

No matter the weather, Davie sits outside his home dressed as Santa each evening from December 1 to Christmas Eve from 3.30pm to 9pm handing sweets and presents to the passing children.

The former miner has continued his well-loved traditions this year despite being diagnosed with liver and bowel cancer while also coping with a long-term spinal injury.

Davie also says the cost of hosting the festivities has now become too much. He pays around £1,300 per year on sweets and creates his own gifts for the children such as cars and trains, on top of his mammoth electricity bill.

He said: “To continue to do it will just be too costly for me. We forked out the money ourselves and took nothing back. Every penny went to Marie Curie.

“It’s great to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. The community really embraces the idea and people really appreciate what I do.

“I never knew how important this would be, not just for me but also for the public. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication but we love it. We have so many happy memories from doing the lights each year and I’ll be sad once I have to pack all the lights away.”

He has thanked the community who have united in order to make this year’s Christmas celebrations become a reality, particularly Rose Findlay and Patricia Telfer.

He said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved with this, from the shops to public who have helped make this year possible. I don’t think some people realised just the amount of work that goes into this. But it gets under your skin. Rose has been absolutely fantastic and the community have helped me a lot this year to help pay for the electricity and also the sweets.

“I’m hoping to raise £6,000 this year so we can round up the total for Marie Curie to £30,000, which would be fantastic.”

Davie has decided to donate his extensive light collection to Poltonhall Galaday for the community to enjoy for years to come. He will don the Santa costume for one more year before dedicating his time for another hobby which he loves.

He said: “I’m going to start making more trains and cars for the children at nurseries and schools. It will keep me occupied and I love doing it.

“Without sponsors and guaranteed financial support I cannot keep going. It’ll be lonely next year not doing this. I’d have loved to keep it going but circumstances have made it not possible. All this has played such a huge part of my life over the past 11 years and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Friend Rose Findlay, 50, said: “Davie has put the magic into Christmas for the whole community. He is outside every night in all weathers for the benefit of others and to see the joy on the faces. I’ve got involved this year because we wanted to make sure this year was special, in memory of Anne. People can still help by dropping off sweets at his home or donating money for Marie Curie in the tubs provided to help Davie reach his goal.

“He deserves a medal for everything he has done over the years. We’ll all certainly miss him and his decorations.”

The Evening News has teamed up with Tesco, Network Rail, Hibs, Hearts, NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government this year to run our Edinburgh Cheer Christmas campaign - aiming to make the city and the Lothians the “Capital of Kindness”.