Christmas lights couple will not put up display this year due to ill health

Dennis Firmage and his wife Mandy light up their house at Christmas for charity. Picture: CHRIS CRAN

Dennis and Mandy Firmage, from Dereham, cannot put up their usual display of Christmas lights due to ill health - Credit: Chris Crane

A Dereham couple will not be putting up their dazzling display of Christmas lights this year due to ill health. 

Dennis and Mandy Firmage, who live in Toftwood, are famed across the local community and beyond for their extravagant efforts

Visiting their lights, on Farm Way, has become an annual pilgrimage for hundreds of people every year. 

The Firmage family's Chrsitmas lights display in Toftwood. Picture: DENNIS FIRMAGE

Dennis and Mandy Firmage, from Dereham, cover their house in Christmas lights every year - Credit: Dennis Firmage

Sadly, though, they will not be lighting up their neighbourhood in 2021 as Mr Firmage continues to recover from major surgery. 

It means it is the first time in 16 years - when they first moved to Toftwood - that they have not been able to decorate their home. 

"I had to go into hospital in October for an operation, and it has taken me a while to get back more or less to where I was before," said Mr Firmage.

"I knew before going in that I would not be able to do the lights. I usually start putting them up at the beginning of November, but I knew there would be four or five weeks where I could not do anything active. 

Dennis Firmage and his wife Mandy light up their house at Christmas for charity. Picture: CHRIS CRAN

Dennis and Mandy Firmage decorate their house on Farm Way in Toftwood, Dereham, every Christmas - Credit: Chris Crane

"In the end, I couldn't get out and do much until the beginning of December."

Most Read

Christmas lights have long been a part of Mrs and Mrs Firmage's life, having put up elaborate displays for more than 30 years. 

They lit up their street for 15 years when they lived near Fakenham, and continued the trend after moving to Dereham. 

Over the last five years, they have used the festive season as an opportunity to raise money for various good causes including East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Nelson's Journey and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. 

Dennis Firmage and his wife Mandy light up their house at Christmas for charity. Picture: CHRIS CRAN

Dennis and Mandy Firmage, from Dereham, cover their house in Christmas lights every year - Credit: Chris Crane

"We've had people come from all over the place to see the lights - some from as far as Devon and Cornwall who have come up to visit family," added Mr Firmage. 

"We try and speak to as many of them as we can, and we have had quite a few people say they will really miss coming round."

While sad they cannot raise money for charity or welcome visitors, Mr and Mrs Firmage have instead been showered with cards and gifts to wish them well.

Health permitting, they hope to bring their lights back with a bang in 2022.  

"I will be getting towards 80 years old next Christmas but, if we are well enough, we will do it again."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter