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Spreading Christmas cheer

414. Mark Tipping
415. Nicola Tipping

Husband and wife team, Mark and Nicola Tipping, make their home a focal point of Christmas cheer and raise over £35,000 for local charities.

Mark and Nicola’s house has always been a beacon of Christmas spirit in their local community. Every year they decorate it with around 30,000 lights that draw in the crowds from near and far. The spectacle has now become so popular that they hold biannual ‘switch on’ events which last year attracted 2,000 people and raised £23,000 for charity.

For years the couple and their three boys (Sam, Joe and Isaac) have decorated their house at Christmas with an elaborate light display. Around three years ago they noticed that people were slowing down to look at the house so they decided to place a collection bucket outside for charitable donations. In that first year they raised £2,000 and since then the initiative has ballooned. They now hold ‘switch on’ events and organise drinks, raffles and even a ‘Festive Family Boot Camp’ to raise money for charity.

The family has never asked for help in funding the events or with the upkeep of the equipment. However, people from their local community have really taken the event to their hearts and many of them volunteer to help run the ‘switch on’ event every year. It has become a real community event with local businesses helping to publicise the event, and a local DJ and brass band volunteering to provide music. Over the past three years the Tippings have raised £35,000 that has been split between three local charities – Jordan Grant Memorial Fund, Derian House Children’s Hospice, and the Chris Rand Fan Club. They are all local charities and most are linked to the family or their neighbours.

The couple also recently won a British Citizen Award which was presented in July 2015 at the House of Lords. This year’s event took place on 29 November 2015 and was another spectacular event. 

David Cameron said:

“Every year Mark and Nicola not only put on a fantastic display for their local community, they also raise a great amount of money for the charities they support. They have inspired many of their neighbours to join in with their brilliant Christmas light displays and created an event for the whole community. I am delighted to recognise them as Points of Light this Christmas.”

Nicola said:

“We are really surprised to win the award and so pleased it can highlight the work of some great charities. We love Christmas and we are delighted that this event has grown to embody that spirit and really bring the community together. Every year we have people in the community asking when the lights will start and offering to help, and I’ve heard of children altering their routes to school to see if the lights are still on.”

Mark said:

“Since we’ve had children Christmas has become an even more important time for us. Every year we wanted to make it better than the last for them. Now, every year we want to make our display better for the children in the community, the charities and for the whole community and further. Some families time their trips home to coincide with the switch on.”

Flyde MP Mark Menzies said:

“The amount of money the Tippings have raised for local charities is simply stunning and they are well deserving of this Points of Light award.

“I know many people have enjoyed their festive displays over the years and the switch-on ceremony has become a real community event in Cottam. This was recognised earlier this year when Mark and Nicola were invited to the Palace of Westminster to be given a British Citizen Award.

“I am delighted the Prime Minister has also recognised the contribution the Tippings have made through their fundraising and would like to echo his warmest congratulations.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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