The Ruskington community has repaid two neighbours who for the last 12 years have festooned their home in Christmas lights for charity.
Jackie Cooper and Valerie Midgley have helped health and children’s charities by inviting donations from the public who stop to marvel at their impressive illuminations, however this year serious injury which left Jackie fighting for her life meant they were unable to put on a show.
Instead, Marie Arch, her daughter Amy and friend Catherine Turner encouraged families to turn up on Saturday evening outside the houses on Elmtree Road when the lights would traditionally be turned on and sang Christmas carols by torchlight to the delighted women.
Marie said: “We wanted to pull together and help. We could not put up the lights as we didn’t have the know-how, but thought it would be nice as a community to sing and pay them back for all those years they have done it.”
As well as buying lights, the pair often get some gifted or discounted by businesses. Usually the grand December 1 switch on attracts hundreds to watch, and meet Father Christmas, but this year the light show is scaled back.
Jackie, who trained herself to rig up all the electrics properly having rewired a house in the past, promised next year’s display will be even bigger and better. She said: “We really appreciate it.”
Val had fallen in the garden in May and broken her wrist and still has not regained full movement.
In March Jackie suffered a stroke brought on when a plastic bottle strung up on a line as a bird scarer became filled with water which froze and struck her on the head in a freak accident.
Nearly two weeks later she felt sick and collapsed in her bathroom. A friend who was due to meet her suspected something was wrong and got two young neighbours to gain entry. They found her unconscious and called for an ambulance.
Jackie, who can recall little of the events and is still regaining her short term memory, said: “I was blue lighted to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston where a scan found a big blood clot on my brain. I was airlifted by the air ambulance to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to operate with an hour to live.”
This year any donations will go to the air ambulance which helped save her, as well as St Barnabas Hospice and a children’s hospice.
Jackie said: “We agreed we could not do anything this year, but I am now cleared to drive again. I am pleased as I do a lot of fundraising. I have raised money for the air ambulance for 25 years and now I have used it and cannot remember anything about it.”