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Christmas light display raises thousands for Gambian project

Christmas light display raises thousands for Gambian project

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By Berk Uyal

An Archbishop has covered his house in Christmas lights to raise money for charity.

Jonathan Blake, from Welling, works with Water for Africa charity to raise funds for villages in The Gambia with no water supply.

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The Christmas light display takes him around 26 days to fit outside his home.

Jonathan has continued to raise money since starting his display in 2002.

He reveals that the electricity bill can cost up to £300 for the Christmas period and that he pays for it all himself.

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He told the News Shopper: “Nothing is taken from the donations that are given, not one penny.

“The lights and way it generates, goes out of my own pocket.”

Jonathan says he started to display lights, as he has “always been concerned for the world since he was a child.”

He said: “Seeing children in villages with no water and are ill, even when I shower or brush my teeth, I always think of the children who have no water.

“I want to make it possible for children to have clean drinkable water, this Christmas.”

In 2018, the lights raised £12,000 for village Tiaba Nyass.

Jonathan added: “Not only did hundreds of children and adults have safe drinking water but they could irrigate their crops and water their livestock.”

He continued to support the charity and raised a further £12,000 in 2019 for village Dobong in Foni Kansala.

An additional £12,000 was also raised last year, to supply 500 residents of Gambian village Kusamai.

He said: “Neighbours come round, and say we adore your lights.

“Me and my wife are deeply moved by it. It is deeply, deeply moving.

“It’s becomes very painful and very exhausting to put the lights up but then people react like that and see the joy, it all of them becomes worthwhile.”

Jonathan says he has plans to visit The Gambia next year, depending on Covid restrictions.

“Me and my sons have aims to visit The Gambia next year. Every penny that comes through the door I value, I want every bit of money given reaches villages like the ones in The Gambia.”

Jonathan says that they’ve raised £67,000 since he first displayed the lights and aims to raise an additional £12,000 for this year.

The display is available for people to view at Danson Credent in Welling.

The lights are on every night until January 6, from 4pm until 10pm.

This year’s effort has already raised £2,398.

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