Stevenage family’s Christmas display for charity ‘is biggest and best yet’

PUBLISHED: 08:27 12 December 2017

Freda Marsh's home in Leaves Spring in Stevenage is festooned with Christmas lights to raise money for charity. Picture: Freda Marsh.

Freda Marsh's home in Leaves Spring in Stevenage is festooned with Christmas lights to raise money for charity. Picture: Freda Marsh.

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A family renowned for their spectacular Christmas display outside their Stevenage home have made this year’s offering the biggest and best yet.

Freda Marsh's home in Leaves Spring in Stevenage is festooned with Christmas lights to raise money for charity. Picture: Freda Marsh. Freda Marsh's home in Leaves Spring in Stevenage is festooned with Christmas lights to raise money for charity. Picture: Freda Marsh.

Freda Marsh and her family get into the festive spirit every year by lighting up their house in Leaves Spring and raising money for charity.

Freda, 23, said: “This is our sixth year of a big display, but we have been doing lights for 18 years with the help of my uncle, Matthew Marsh.”

They originally raised money for London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital because Freda’s 13-year-old sister Florrie Elmahdy receives treatment there for a breathing problem, but this year they are supporting the UK Sepsis Trust after Freda developed the life-threatening condition in June this year.

She said: “I had an undiagnosed urinary tract infection that turned into e coli and that turned into sepsis.

“It all came to light while I was in labour with my first baby at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. I nearly died and it was pretty terrifying.

“I didn’t think it would happen to me and now I’m on a push to get as many people as possible to know the signs of sepsis, which can be confused with feeling generally unwell.”

The Marsh family’s Christmas display has been up for less than a week and has already raised more than £180.

Freda said: “We have more lights than ever. We have bought some ex-council lights from Yorkshire, have more reindeer and a new sleigh.

“We are pretty crazy. Some of our neighbours offer to help and others just close their curtains and hide away from it all.”

She added: “The electricity bill goes up a little bit, but not as much as you’d expect because we we had an overhaul last year and replaced all the bulbs with LEDs, which cost next to nothing to run. It’s a lot cheaper than it used to be.”

In 2013, the family won best festive house after securing 50 per cent of votes from a Comet online poll of displays in the area.

The display at Leaves Spring will be up until January 4 and there is a post box in the front garden for donations. There is also a post box for children to post their letters to Father Christmas.

For more information about the UK Sepsis Trust and the signs to look out for, visit sepsistrust.org.

• All lit up for Christmas? Send us pictures of your festive display to news@thecomet.net.

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