A FESTIVE fiesta of Christmas lights on a Poole road has become an annual tourist attraction – and is back better than ever this year.

For years the residents of Runton Road in Branksome have made it their mission to put on a Yuletide spectacular – and this year they have outdone themselves with more than a dozen houses and gardens adorned with all manner of decorations.

Nancy and Mick Philips have lived on the cul-de-sac for 23 years and put up lights every year.

They said things became “really spectacular” about 15 years ago with neighbours playing a friendly game of Christmas lights one-upmanship.

Now the street boasts thousands of glittering bulbs, singing santas, giant inflatables, families of deer, sleighs, trains, and even a snow machine.

The residents of this small but tight-knit community even hold their own official turning on ceremony, sharing wine and Christmas goodies and taking a tour of the lights as carols are played.

“It’s like a Victorian Christmas down here,” added Nancy.

But it is not just the residents of this quiet cul-de-sac that enjoy the fantastic display.

A stream of families come every night. Hundreds make a special trip to see it, some travelling miles, others coming back year after year.

Last year the residents held a charity collection on the two nights before Christmas. They raised £700 for cancer charities, and plan to do the same thing this Christmas Eve.

Mick told the Echo: “We must have had about 700 people up here – it was like Piccadilly Circus. On Friday and Saturday nights you can’t move up here for people.

“It’s real Christmas spirit,” added Nancy, “We love Christmas.”

The couple say they “wouldn’t like to know” what the decorations have cost over the year, although they estimate an extra £30 or £40 on their electricity bill annually.

“It’s not the money – we never tot it up,” said Mick.

“It gives so much pleasure,” added Nancy. “It still gives me pleasure every time I come home.”

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