Dad decorates home with 70,000 Christmas lights – and is hit with huge bill

A dad who loves Christmas has decked out his house with a whopping 70,000 lights, all controlled by 90 switches.

Paul Bibby, a local legend in Chelmsford, Essex, has been lighting up his home for the festive season for the past 18 years.

This year, he's gone all out with over 30,000 lights (with 70,000 bulbs), an 8ft gingerbread man, a nutcracker, and Christmas tree. He also has a blow-up Santa, penguin, polar bear, a 6ft reindeer and dog in his festive display.

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Paul says he loves his festive home – despite it making his electricity bill sky-high. It takes him and his son Aaron Bibby, 36, around 45 minutes every day to inflate and deflate all the props.

Despite a staggering electricity bill of £300 for December, Paul, who is a full-time carer for his son Aaron and lives with him and partner Linda Cummings, 60, has no plans to stop. He said: "Doing my house every year, it's like a jigsaw puzzle. It's a lot of work for one person but I love doing it."

"Last year the cost was well over £300 in electric just for the lights, it might be even more this time but that would never put me off. People will think that I'm crazy, but I do it for a good cause, one year I might need them."

Paul started this tradition in December 2005 with just a single string of lights and each year, he goes bigger and better. This year, he's added four sets of new icicle lights and a towering 9ft snowman.

Paul, who's been raising money for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance for the fourth year in a row, said: "I tie them to my car with string, it's alright if it's not windy." He's hoping to beat his previous fundraising record of £1,500 and has already raised £310.

The light show needs 90 switches to turn on and takes about 35 minutes each day to set up. Paul's festive dedication attracts visitors from far and wide. He added: "I get people come from Harlow to visit, they say it's amazing and they've never seen anything like it."

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He even had guests from South Africa! Despite the cost, Paul plans to continue his annual light show because he loves making people happy. He said: "People around here probably think I'm crazy – but I love doing it because just want to make people happy. I'll carry on until I'm too old to get up the ladder!"

In the past, Paul has also decorated his house with over a hundred Union Jacks to celebrate the King's Coronation and to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth II after her death.

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