A man diagnosed with leukemia is raising money for a blood cancer charity by creating an elaborate Christmas ornament in front of his and his partner’s house.
Peter Elliott, 71, spent a month turning on thousands of lights at his Romford, east London home to raise funds for Leukemia Care and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
He sets up the exhibit every year to raise funds for GOSH and other charities, but decided to fundraise for the cancer charity this year after his treatment.
Mr Elliott was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2021. He created a clean display last year because he had Covid-19 at the time.
However, this year the exhibition has returned to its full glory and features Santa’s cave with rocking horses, five Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and stars.
There’s also a 17-foot star on the roof of his house, which he shares with his partner Lesley Haylett, 61.
Mr Elliott told the PA News Agency: “I have been doing this every year for about 38 years. Every year I try to do something different – so I built gingerbread houses, castles, pirate stuff, lots of different things.
“Every year we fundraise for GOSH because my grandson was in Great Ormond Street years ago, and this year Leukemia Care, because they really supported me after I was said my blood count was low and needed to be checked. I just think it’s a good way to show your appreciation.
He added, “It started with just a fairy light. We have some old people who live across the road and they sent us a Christmas card saying how much they love the lights, and that’s just from there that it developed. People come to see him from everywhere.
One feature of the torque display is missing this year.
Two 6-foot statues from the Laurel and Hardy comics, which Mrs Haylett bought for her partner 40 years ago, have been stolen outside their home in the summer.
A reward of £ 10,000 for their safe return was offered by Dean Floyd, on behalf of his construction company, Chigwell Group, but the statues have not been seen since.
It was the fourth time they had been stolen. The last time they came back after three years.
Mr Elliott said: “I hope they come back. I was gutted when they got nicked again. The house is known for them and Christmas decorations.
“I found out that they were taken when I was in the hospital for a bone marrow transplant. They didn’t want to tell me that they had left.
He added that he was delighted to have been able to do the display this year as it was a bit “touch and go” due to his diagnosis.
“It’s great to see this done,” he said.
Ms Haylett said: “We are really proud of him. A lot of people get cancer and then go into lockdown. But he’s just trying to carry on like he always does.