CHILDREN visiting homes decorated for Christmas have been donating their pocket money to help sick youngsters.

Homes across South Essex, including two in Benfleet and Southend, have been decorating their properties with some going a step further and raising money for charities.

And the owners are already delighted with the public support from all ages.

Pete Edgson, 31, of The Grove, in Southend, has had his outdoor light display up since November 1.

He said: “I try and add to it every year.

“A man I knew who was like a grandad to me since I was about 12-years-old died back in 2011 and he loved it, and made me promise to carry on doing it, so I started doing the lights again last year.

“Putting the lights up takes over a week, then I have to sort the wiring to make sure that’s all safe.

“When I turned them on a few people stood outside to have a look, and little girl came up and gave me 65p and asked me to ‘please give it to charity’, so that’s what made me want to start fundraising, and I chose Children with Cancer.

“I’ve got a big banner outside and a collection pot with a note on the front of my house to ask that anyone wanting to donate to knock on the door or put them in an envelope through the door.

“It’s a lot of work but I like putting a smile on people’s faces.”

Kathryn and Daniel Gibbs and their daughter Beth have been putting up the lights on their home for several years now and have raised more than £10,000 for charities over the last five years.

This year, the family chose a charity close to them, Little Havens Hospice, in Daws Heath Road, Benfleet.

Kathryn, of Jotmans Lane, Benfleet, said: “We’ve been doing the lights for many years now. My husband takes care of it all.

“It takes him a good few weekends to get it all sorted and we started doing it at the beginning of November. It’s lovely to see the children running up the drive and everyone getting in to the spirit of Christmas.”

So far, the family has raised £764 online. To donate via JustGiving, visit