An epic Christmas light display in St Nicholas lets visitors choose the playlist through a control board gadget and watch as incredible animated light characters talk to each other!
The amazing display, which includes some 1,800 lights, is raising money for Bliss, the leading UK charity for babies born premature or sick.
The St Nicholas Lights, at 18 Sandalwood Drive, have been created by David Smith who is an IT manager for a global manufacturer of recycled packaging.
There is a control pad that lets visitors choose from three themed play lists – Show/movie songs; Kids songs and Xmas songs – with each containing three or four different sound tracks.
David is no stranger to creating fantastic gadgets, having tinkered with electronics since childhood.
He said: “I’ve always liked gadgets and have played with electronics ever since I was boy. My Dad made me some basic components to learn from as a child and it was great fun. I’d make “burglar alarms” and those steady hand wire games.
“As I got older things just evolved really. At 18 I fabricated a DIY “car-puter” with a touchscreen monitor basically running a full blown PC in the glovebox – this was about 17 years ago now so long before touchscreen media units were a standard item!
“Progressing into programmable Christmas lights was something I’d always wanted to do but as usual it comes down to time and money.
“Working from home for most this year meant I needed a project to get into. I started in May and after about six months of buying parts, building and wiring up the props and learning how to control them all, we ran a Halloween Show as a pre-Christmas test.
“It went down a treat with the neighbours and those who joined in with the Thanet Pumpkin Trail – but to be honest I was just glad it worked!
“It was a much steeper learning curve than expected but I’ve really enjoyed it and it quickly became addictive to just keep buying more and more lights!
“By the time the Christmas display was complete, I think we’d reached somewhere in the region of 1800 individual lights. Compared to some people’s displays that’s a drop in the ocean though.”
The incredible display is also serving an important purpose by raising money for the Bliss charity – one that is close to the hearts of David and his wife Becky.
He said: “We decided to try and raise money for Bliss – for premature and sick babies, because in August 2013 our first child, Andrew, was born 9 weeks early weighing only 2lb 9oz. He was in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for 4 weeks and SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) for another 4 weeks.
“Had it not been for the amazing NHS staff and support of organisations like Bliss, the situation could have been very different. Anything we can raise to try and give back and help others in need would be fantastic.”
Andrew is now seven and “much heavier” said David! The couple also have daughter Emily who is four.
For anyone who want to pop by and view the display, it is on every day between 4pm-7pm.
There is hand sanitiser by the control board.
Donations would be appreciated and can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stnicholasatwadelights
If you’d like more information or to view videos of the display you can check out facebook page “St Nicholas At Wade Lights” at https://www.facebook.com/stnicholasatwadelights/