Long Lane’s iconic Christmas lights display, organised by Islanders Terry and Sue Ramplin, will switch on this month — accompanied by a marching band and (with your help) Father Christmas.
The pair have been lighting up their home at 68 Long Lane, Staplers for the last 24 years — raising more than £40,000 for local charities in the process. This year's light switch on will take place on Saturday, November 25.
The display will be raising funds for the Isle of Wight Prostate Cancer Support Group, to which they also donated £4,879 last year. Many local charities have benefited from Terry's generous donations over the years, including Daisy Chain IW Children's Charity, Ability Dogs 4 Young Persons, Homestart, The Cancer Unit at St Mary's Hospital, Lottie Rann Trust, Medina House School and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, to name a few.
The lights – which take around three months to install – have been switched on in the past by special guests, such as actor, Geoffrey Hughes and showbiz journalist, John Hannam. Terry said: "It's only one little house. And it's me and the wife 90% of the time that's put this together over all these years. But what's really nice is when I meet people that it's helped.
"We try to make a little bit of joy and happiness for the children and ourselves at Christmas time.
"Our donations to the Prostate Cancer Support Group have allowed hundreds of men to get tested, with dozens of positive findings." It costs around £5,000 to put on a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing day, with all the equipment required on the day and lab costs. Terry and Sue’s fundraising has helped towards these costs in the past, but this year, they’ve managed to fund a whole session — which positively identified signs of cancer in around thirty men.
A spokesperson for the Prostate Cancer Support Group said: “Without Terry raising that money, none of it would have happened. Thirty men whose lives may be saved by Terry’s efforts. It couldn’t have happened without the efforts he put into it. That’s how vital Terry is.”
In a letter Terry has kept from Ability Dogs 4 Young Persons from 2019, they thanked him for raising £2,000 for their cause: “Your support helps us to continue with the charity's work; training assistance dogs to help disabled young people and children here on the Isle of Wight.”
Families have been coming from across the Island to get a glimpse of the iconic lights since 2000 — with Terry and Sue stood out in all weathers, shaking a bucket and welcoming Islanders, who consider their visit a Christmas tradition.
This year's festivities will get underway with the Wight Diamonds Marching Band playing Christmas songs from 5.45pm, with lights switching on at 6pm.
Terry also revealed that he's hoping Santa will provide one final Christmas miracle for the event: "I am in desperate need of a (visit from) Father Christmas," Terry said, "We need Santa to hand out sweets to children for a couple of hours — so please get in touch if you know of anyone who can help!"
Terry’s also asked for volunteer knitters to get in touch – to help with supplies for their tree decoration fundraising stall. Anyone who can offer assistance is asked to phone Terry on 526089.
For more information about PSA testing days on the Island, visit iwpcsg.org.