Belfast Telegraph

Festive glow returns to Tandragee home for cancer charity Christmas fundraiser

The Hancock family’s nativity display
The Hancock family’s nativity display
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Tandragee is set to twinkle once more this Christmas thanks to one man's loyal efforts.

For the past six years, Tim Hancock (21) and his family have been using their fabulous festive lights display to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

And 2019 will be no different as their garden will once again come alive to share the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus - with a merry exhibit in aid of Marie Curie. Year after year, Tim and his dad Mark (55) have built a bigger and better display to light up many faces, both young and old.

The family have been putting up Christmas lights since 1998 but this has turned into a passion and hobby for Tim.

In 2013, they tripled the amount of outdoor decorations in the collection to create one of Northern Ireland's largest Christmas decorative displays.

Since then they have raised just under £11,000 for Marie Curie UK, which has benefited cancer patients in the wider Craigavon area.

Having lost family friend Andrew Wilson to cancer in July 2014, who also had an annual festive display in Maghaberry village, Tim wanted to continue his work of supporting the charity.

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Tim, a final year business student at Ulster University, said: "We began to fundraise as we saw the lights as not just a hobby but also a way in which we could give back to the community and encourage others to do so too.

"Since 2013 we have fundraised for charity, Charlene's Project in the first year and Marie Curie since 2014," he added.

Even when the family moved from Lurgan to Tandragee in 2016 the lights came too and they were able to create a much bigger festive offering thanks to the larger garden.

Every September, Tim and Mark begin the nine week set up of their display which features hundreds of thousands of bulbs, a full nativity scene, snowmen, reindeer, an eight piece choir and carollers section and a Santa's Workshop scene.

"After all these years it just wouldn't be Christmas for our family without the lights," Tim said.

He added: "It's a charity and community event focused on the real meaning of the season and putting a smile on people's faces."

The display, which goes live tomorrow, is located at 83 Armagh Road, Tandragee, BT62 2HS. The lights display will run from 4.30pm to 10pm on weekdays and until 11pm at weekends until the switch off on New Year's Eve.

All donations made through the on-site donations box or Tim's Lights Charity Christmas Lights Display on JustGiving will go to Marie Curie.

Later buses and trains for yuletide revellers

Translink is introducing a number of late-night bus and train services for the festive season.

Fares will also be reduced on a variety of routes, bosses said.

The new services include extra Metro midnight and 1am services every Friday and Saturday until December 21, with a £2.50 fare available.

Late-night trains, meanwhile, will depart Belfast for Lisburn, Portadown, Bangor, Coleraine and Larne on Friday and Saturday nights from November 29 until December 21.

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