Mark Abbott’s home stands out in Norwich. Image: Mark Abbott
A former homeless man has been dubbed ‘Mr Christmas’ after he transformed his home with 17,500 Christmas lights to raise funds for the hostel where he stayed 15 years ago.
Mark Abbott has covered his home in lights and set up a sleigh on his front garden which can seat four children. He also has a snow machine to ensure festive weather and a light-covered archway to mark the way to the front door.
Now, the dad-of-three has families flocking to see his home with some even travelling from as far as Sheffield.
Abbott is hoping the winter wonderland will raise funds for St Martins in Norwich, a homelessness cause that to him is close to home.
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But his experiences of homelessness have stuck with him and when he was putting his Christmas lights up and two elderly passers-by told him he should raise money for charity, he instantly had one cause in mind.
The winter wonderland has been in place since September and now contains around 17,500 lights and 4,000 feet of wires after Abbott has continued to add to it.
“It’s with me now, I bring up my children to be grateful for what you’ve got,” said Abbott.
“When I was told people would donate the first thing I thought about was just the homeless instantly. I’ve heard stories that families have also been made homeless through no fault of their own because of the pandemic. I can’t even imagine.
“So I knew exactly what I was going to do straight away. That was a no brainer for me.”
Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.