Festive fanatic in early light switch-on for cancer pair

CHRISTMAS fanatic Anne Donaghy has been decking out her house in winter lights for 20 years to the delight of neighbours – and people who travel from further away to see her festive display.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 27th November 2012, 12:01 pm

But this year she has brought her annual switch-on forward – because the couple next door are both terminally ill.

Neighbours Doris and Rob Rice, of Rosebery Crescent, Haymarket, were diagnosed with cancer within a week of each other and expect this to be their last Christmas together.

“Doris has always admired them so I thought it might bring them a bit of festive cheer,” said Anne, 54.

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“It’s so sad what’s happening to the two of them. They’re lovely people and great neighbours. I’ve been doing it since my son was a wee boy but they’re up early this year because they’re both ill. ”

The foster carer’s decorations include lights around the windows, a shooting star, a snowman and a giant Santa and igloo in her garden,

Her collection, which attracts visitors from all over, has been built up over a number of years.

Anne said: “I don’t think of the bills. I just like doing it. It was just a couple of things to start with then I’ve added to it every year.

“I live on the main road so we get quite a few cars stopping so people can look. I see grandparents bringing their little-uns to have a look which is nice. My children and foster children think it’s great too.”

Doris, 62, underwent surgery when she was diagnosed with cancer four years ago but it has since returned to both of her lungs. Her husband Rob, 63, is also terminally ill with cancer of the oesophagus and neither expect to survive another Christmas.

“This is probably the last Christmas for me so it is lovely of Anne to do that for me,” Doris said.

“I love her lights. I have always liked them but because of my condition she went away really early to put them up.

“She’s a very good neighbour to me and I really appreciate her doing this. She has really looked after me.

“She has lovely Christmas decorations and when they’re not up she has lovely flowers in pots so she keeps me amused all year round.

“I should get about six months but with my husband we don’t know, it’s a bit of a waiting game. At least I get chance to say goodbye to my family. There’s a lot of people who don’t get that.”