‘Mr Christmas’ is back! Seth Vafiadis has picked up his toolkit, got out the ladders and wrapped up warmly to once again decorate his Hayes home with thousands of coloured Christmas lights.
To be precise, 8,534 of them, because the dad, of Wood End Green Road, has counted every one.
Seth, and daughter Sophia, 17, are picking up a tradition of years back, started by Seth’s late wife, Androulla, who loved to have the family home covered in decorations.
She became known as ‘Mrs Christmas’ in the area, and who took the opportunity to raise cash for charity by asking passers-by for a donation.
After she died of cancer in 2010, Seth carried on the tradition, fundraising for the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre and Michael Sobell Hospice, both in Northwood.
He gave up for a couple of years but ‘peer pressure’, he said, forced his return. “My friends said: ‘Do you know, you should do it again? We know your wife has gone but she would have wanted you to do it,” said the former London Underground worker.
So with help from friend Pete Berryman, over two weeks Seth – who foots the electricity bill himself – rigged up illuminated snowmen, penguins, candy canes and miniature houses, characters from the film Shrek, an inflatable Mickey Mouse and dozens of strings of lights.
He is supporing two charities this year: Great Ormond Street Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Care, and you can donate to both by texting the code ‘ANDV50’, to make a £2 donation, to the number 70070, or post a donation, of any amount, through the letterbox and with this method you can stipulate which charity is to receive your money, if you wish.
“Every year we have made the £1,000 mark,” said Seth, “so it would be lovely if we could beat that again.”
Seth helps with productions of the Beck Youth Theatre, in Grange Road, Hayes, because Sophia is a member. He will be actively involved with its production of Guys ‘N’ Dolls next spring.
“They dragged me into it because I’m good with lights,” he said.
“When they do the stage production, I’m the ‘go to guy’,”.
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Uxbridge does the light fantastic with a parade before the big switch on.