Beryl and Derek Holden stand in front of their Creeting St. Mary home that was decorated by their son Stephen Holden and his girlfriend Denise Hales.

Ipswich: Is your house a Christmas cracker?

Thursday, December 6, 2012
3.43 PM

IS your house a shining star or a dazzling delight?

Today, The Star is launching a competition to find the houses that are lighting up the street and spreading some festive fun this Christmas.

The Star has teamed up with retailer QD Stores to search for the best and brightest display in the town.

The lucky winner will receive £100 of vouchers to spend in any QD Store, Lathams or Cherry Lane Garden Centre.

QD Stores will also donate £50 to the winning home-owner’s chosen charity.

To help kick off the competition, we’ve visited three houses that are real Christmas crackers.

Mr and Mrs Page in Landseer Road have been dressing their house to impress for more than a decade.

The couple put on a spectacular show every year to raise money for the EACH Treehouse hospice.

Denise Hales, 35, from Needham Market and her partner Stephen Holden, 37, started their house-decorating tradition about six years ago.

Rather than doing up their own house, the couple decorate Stephen’s parents Beryl and Derek Holden’s house in St Mary’s Gardens, Creeting St Mary.

“It started on a small-scale,” Miss Hales said. “It’s grown as time has gone on and each year we try to do something different.”

Two years ago mechanic Mr Holden built a moving ski-slope with little animal figures and this year the decorations have a woodland theme.

The lights were officially switched on on Sunday night, but it took the pair three weekends of work to put them all up.

“We love Christmas and we just love it [the lights],” Miss Hales said.

The festive display is also raising money for EACH.

Miss Hales said the family chose to support EACH “purely because it’s a children’s charity and we feel that’s what Christmas is about”.

Each year the decorations manage to raise around £1,000 for the hospice in St Augustine’s Gardens.

Sheila and Bob Hales of Wherstead Road started their Christmas lights tradition when their daughter Melissa was ten.

Fifteen years on and Melissa has moved out, but Mr and Mrs Hales are keeping up the tradition.

“I’ve greatly added to it each year,” Mr Hales, 65, said. “But this could be the last year we do it, as we’re hoping to sell up next year.”

Semi-retired lorry driver Mr

Hales and wife Mrs Hales, 59, switched on the lights on Friday night, but the lights took Bob a week to put up.

“Every night there’s people

stopping to take photos,” he said. “We just do it to brighten the street up, I always think it looks so nice.

“A lot of people get a lot of pleasure out of it.”

To enter your house into the competition, send photos of your dazzling display to

iwitness24.co.uk and suffolkpicturedesk@archant.co.uk or post your pictures to Dazzling Christmas Display Competition, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN. The deadline for entry is Wednesday, December 19.

The winner and top ten entries will feature in a special Star round-up of the Best Dressed Homes on Friday, December 28.