A FORMER miner has turned his home into Santa’s grotto by putting up more than 1,600 festive decorations -- and he even takes on the role of Father Christmas.
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For the last nine years, David Brown has rigged his house lights and donned on a Father Christmas costume -- every day for a month -- all for charity.
And this year the 62-year-old has raised more than £1,000 for Marie Curie since he opened the grotto for business at the start of December.
And despite growing electricity bills, David continues to let families come and enjoy the festive fun, giving out bags of sweets and leaving a box for letters to Santa.
He simply asks that families are kind enough to donate to the charitable cause when visiting his terraced home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
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David said: “I started it nine years ago to try and cheer up my wife and then it sort of turned into a hobby.”
His wife Anne, 67, suffers from COPD, a progressive lung disease which makes it difficult to breathe, and David now spends retired life caring for her.
“It can be quite lonely at times for both of us and I wanted to find something to fill my time with”, he said.
“It still makes her [Anne] happy to hear the children outside, sometimes I catch her upstairs with the window open just listening to them laughing.”
David, who was also a landscape gardener at one time, starts putting up the Christmas decorations almost three months in advance of the festive season.
And David said the tradition has gone much further than he ever anticipated.
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“It has escalated more than I thought it would which has encouraged me to do more”, he said.
“Until last year I ran all of the lights through the house electricity.
“I was spending between £150 and £200 on bills a month.
“I work with what I have, but I have limited funds, so last year I started using a generator to run the lights.
“I have more decorations in the garage but I couldn’t get enough generators to run them all.”
And while David has spent a whopping £1,200 this year on sweets to hand out to families, he is worried he could run out.
He said: “Every child gets a bag of sweets, and sometimes even the adults get one too.
“I am already halfway through my stash and I don’t have money to buy more.
“I ran out of sweets on the last week last year and people stopped coming and stopped donating, which worries me about this year.”
David puts on his Santa Costume around 3pm and allows visitors to come to the grotto until 9pm -- around about the time the fuel in his generators runs out.