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86-year-old Dublin man switches on lights at ‘one of Ireland’s most decorated houses’ in aid of hospice

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A 86-year-old man from Sandymount is turning on Christmas lights at his home which is also known as “one of Ireland’s most decorated houses” during the festive seasons.

For the past 26 years, Mr William Tilly has added some magic to his home and garden with a range of Christmas lights as a way to raise vital funds for Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services.

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The kind hearted man has raised over €155,000 from this and other fundraising activities for the hospice as they took great care of his relatives when they needed it, he says this is his way of paying them back.

Mr Tilly said: “I set up the lights every year as a way to celebrate the work of the Hospice and my local community, who are a real support to me and to each other.

“I’m a long-time supporter of Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services since they cared for my Uncle Dan and Aunt Julia years ago.

“The display takes three weeks to prepare. I do most of the wiring and repairs myself as I was a helper to electricians in the ESB for 32 years.

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“In recent years I’ve concentrated on decorating the garden and directing operations! I let my grandchildren take the ladder to tackle the house and roof!

“Last year we raised almost €17,000, which was really fantastic, especially because of Covid-19. I’d hope to raise the same amount again this year. It’s all down to the great support of the community.”

For the last 22 years, following his wife’s death, Mr Tilly started this tradition because he wanted to do something for the local community.

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He gets great support from the local community and from the sports supporters going to the Aviva Stadium.

His lights are turned on every evening and stay lit until January 6. It’s a busy job putting them away because when they’re taken down, they have to be checked and packed away with the help of family and friends which takes over three weeks.

Eleanor Flew, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services said: “We are so grateful to Mr Tilly, and all his family, whose hard work has raised over €155,000. We rely heavily on donations from the community to provide our much-needed services.

“Mr Tilly is a real inspiration to us all. We are delighted to have such long-standing supporters. For many years, these lights have brought a smile and real enjoyment to many in the local area and beyond and we are honoured that Mr Tilly has shone a light for Hospice care.

“The display includes many thousands of lights, life-size Santas in the chimney, on a sleigh in the garden and on motorbikes as well as with snowmen, reindeer figurines, and a big chute where children throw coins.”

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