A RESIDENT of Barnsbury who has built up a popular reputation for her magnificent display of Christmas lights over the last 20 years was in tears when she found thieves had been at them.
Helen Buckley, with her sons’ help, creates the display to wow children, and about 2,500 people drop by their house in Willow Way to see them over the festive period. She said: “It has grown and grown over the years. The children who used to come are now bringing their children.
“We don’t ask for any donations but a neighbour collected for Children in Need over the last couple of years.”
Helen and her son Nathan started putting up this year’s at the beginning of October. They decided to take advantage of the mild weather as it takes a long time to set them all up for the official switch-on on December 1, when dozens of people turn up to watch. Her 82-year-old mum even makes up festive bags for the children.
Helen said they tested the lights for 10 minutes on Tuesday, November 18, and still had more to put up. However, the next day Helen had to go out, and just an hour and 20 minutes later she came home devastated to discover some decorations had been stolen.
She added: “I was in tears. I can’t believe anyone could do it. They even took the Santa letterbox for children to send letters and we reply.
“We’ve never anything stolen before. Some of the decorations are irreplaceable and were given by neighbours who have passed away. It was so upsetting – I don’t like leaving the house now. I don’t think it was anyone local.”
Helen, who decorates the inside of her home with similar vigour, reported it to the police. She seriously considered taking them down and not going ahead with the annual switch-on on Monday.
However, some faith was restored. Helen said: “On Saturday, a man turned up on the doorstep with a £149 box of lights. He must have read about it on the police website.”