Harris family Christmas display helps shine a light on Alzheimer’s

Young family of four outside their house lit up with Christmas lights.

Christmas lights in aid of Alzheimer's Society Simon Harris with his Children Eleanor, 13, Noah, 11 and Emma-Jane, 7 - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography

An Ottery family has brightened up their corner of the town with Christmas decorations while shining a light on the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Simon Harris, who lives with his wife Hazel and their three children, Eleanor, 13, Noah, 11 and Emma-Jane, 7, at Abbot Close, has covered his house in festive decorations in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Simon lost his mother, Ann Harris, 67, to Frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s six years ago. He decided to raise money for the charity for the first time last year by asking people for a donation to see their bedecked home.

Grandmother with her grandson smiling at the camrera.

Ann Harris with her grandson Noah - Credit: Picture: Harris family

He said: “We enjoy putting on the display and look to continue to do this, expanding and changing the display each year. 
The cheery display has so far raised nearly £130 and the family are determined to keep spreading the Christmas cheer.

Christmas lights outside Abbott Close in Ottery St Mary

Christmas lights in aid of Alzheimer's Society - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton

Simon added: “Christmas is massive for us! We love putting a smile on people’s faces and particularly the young children in the area. It’s also important to us to continue the fight against a shocking disease that devastates families.” 
Simon, who is self-employed at Harris Horticulture, enlisted the help of his friend Dom Boull, who donated the lights to the family. It took the pair approximately three hours to finish decorating and it’s been getting some very welcome attention from passers-by.

Young girl smiling at the camera while hugging a Santa statue light

Emma-Jane, 7, says hello to Santa - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton

“General consensus is very positive. It has made some people smile. One person commented that they looked forward to seeing them at the end of their day driving back into the estate,” said Simon. Other comments included: ‘It brightens up our little close and for a great cause’, ‘Very impressive’, ‘An absolutely wonderful display. I’m lucky to see it every day’. 

Christmas lights in aid of Alzheimer's Society

Christmas lights in aid of Alzheimer's Society - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton

Simon told the Herald that it was particularly important to put on a good display this year, starting a week earlier than normal, in a bid to cheer people up during the pandemic and as a ‘nod to the NHS workers who risk their lives everyday’.
There’s still time to see the Harris family’s amazing festive display and you can give a donation on the doorstep or via their Facebook post on the ‘Ottery Matters, UK’ group.

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