Northern Ireland news

Visitors to Derry's 'Christmas Drive' help raise £5,000 for charity

The street dubbed 'Christmas Drive' – an Apex neighbourhood located in the Shantallow area of Derry. Picture by Stephen Latimer

VISITORS to a street in Derry dubbed 'Christmas Drive' have helped raise more than £5,000 for two charities.

Hundreds of people have been descending on Racecourse Drive in the Shantallow area to catch a glimpse of its spectacular festive display.

An array of Christmas lights and decorations are on display at 23 houses after neighbours teamed up to transform the area into a winter wonderland.

The charity venture, which has seen the Apex Housing neighbourhood unofficially renamed 'Christmas Drive', began during lockdown last year.

Laura Meehan (far right) and neighbour Emma Curran pictured with some of the children who are lucky enough to live on ‘Christmas Drive’. Picture by Stephen Latimer

Preparations started in March with the construction of billboards and other yuletide props with the process of transforming the street taking four weeks to complete.

As well as boosting Christmas spirit, the display is also raising funds for Foyle Hospice and HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) - with those visiting the street asked to make a small donation.

Resident Laura Meehan said people did not have to pay to see the street but could contribute at donation boxes.

More than £5,000 has already been raised by the Christmas fundraiser for local charities, Foyle Hospice and HURT (Have Your Tomorrows). Picture by Stephen Latimer

"It’s amazing to see so many people coming to see the display - it’s so lovely and we are so proud," she said.

"I think it’s only going to get bigger each year and I really hope it will inspire others. Eventually, we hope there could be a rivalry with other local streets for the best Christmas display."

Donna Matthewson, Apex’s director of Housing, said they were "delighted" to help with some funding towards the display, which he said had "helped strengthen community spirit in the area and bring neighbours together".

Donna Matthewson, Apex’s director of housing

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