Festive lights dazzle a corner of Caister

PUBLISHED: 09:59 02 December 2011

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill in Caister is decorated ready for Christmas. Barry with Liam Greita

The home of Barry and Jane Cockrill in Caister is decorated ready for Christmas. Barry with Liam Greita

Archant © 2011

LIGHTS, more lights and just a few more lights...action! And its shimmering showtime in a quiet Caister cul-de-sac.

Barry Cockrill has been fine-tuning the dazzling festive display he has been working on since August while the rest of us were sunning ourselves - culminating in a grand community switch-on for friends, family and neighbours in Kipling Close.

By all accounts, cheering children watched open-mouthed while mince-pie munching grown-ups sipped their mulled wine.

And while it wasn’t the kind of 
switch-on that sees the mayor or local panto celebrity flick the switch there was still an air of expectation as Mr Cockrill flicked not one, but four, switches - his home suddenly transformed into a sparkling Christmas spectacle.

Meanwhile a white flurry of snow from this year’s latest addition - a snow machine - spread the magic of Christmas all across the front garden.

Delighted neighbour Patricia West said his efforts, which included providing drinks and food, and a “real” Santa with a gift for every child, epitomised the season of goodwill.

“He is the biggest hearted bloke you could imagine,” she said.

“Each year it just gets bigger and better. I’m surprised the national grid doesn’t dip when he switches on.”

Mr Cockrill, 65, of Great Yarmouth Glass, said it started with a rope light and a few reindeer just eight years ago - and had just snowballed.

On Sunday a crowd of around 70 gathered for the annual switch-on - a week earlier than usual because family were visiting from Germany.

“I just love Christmas,” he said. “And because the company shuts down it’s the only time I can be at home with the children.”

Mr Cockrill and his wife Jane have four grown-up children between them and five grandchildren who all adore the lights.

He has been working on the display since the August bank holiday - setting aside time every weekend to fix the strings of mainly white lights and illuminated figures in their proper places.

Tucked away in a quiet street with few passers-by the only people to benefit are family, friends and neighbours. But their enjoyment more than makes up for the effort, he says.

And as for the cost of keeping all those bulbs burning - “I simply don’t look,” he says.

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