Christmas-mad family win special prize for their festive decorations at Sunderland home

A Christmas-mad family have won a special prize for their decorations as they welcomed family, friends and strangers to their Sunderland home for a festive charity get-together.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 8:54 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 9:05 pm
Syd and wife Jan with son Lee Sykes.

The traditional community event is held each year at the Sykes’s home in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.

This time, however, was made extra special as Syd Sykes’s handiwork with the decorations won a prize in Johnston Press and Royal Mail’s Stop, Look, Glisten competition.

Syd and wife Jan with son Lee Sykes.

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The family will receive a special framed photograph of their lights and 50 commemorative Christmas stamps.

They are also in the running for a national prize of £1,000, the winner of which will be announced this week.

Syd, his wife Jan, who turns 60 on Christmas Day, and son Lee, 31 decked out their Pennywell home with an astonishing display of festive decorations – and all in the name of charity.

Jan, who is a carer for Lee, who has Cerebral Palsy, has held fundraising events at the family home for about 15 years now.

Jan Sykes outside her home in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.

The family started off raising money for Help for Heroes.

However, since a number of family members’ lives were touched by cancer, they have fundraised for MacMillan Cancer Support.

Jan said: “I love Christmas – I was born on Christmas Day.

“Syd starts putting the decorations up with the help of a friend in about September every year.

Syd Sykes outside his home in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.

“We get most of them from America, and I don’t want to think about how much we’ve spent. It must be in the thousands.”

Most years the Sykes’s Christmas event raises between £700 and £800 for charity.

However, this year Jan has set herself a target of £1,000.

The money comes from the sale of mulled hot drinks, teas, coffees and hotdogs, as well as a tombola, with the whole family getting involved.

The house in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.

This year the crowd was entertained by a brass band from Backworth Colliery.

The Stop, Look, Glisten campaign is encouraging homeowners to transform their properties into magical award-winning grottos that even Santa Claus would be proud of.

Royal Mail spokesman David Gold said: “Light decorations are a particular favourite. That’s why we decided to launch our Stop, Look, Glisten competition, to encourage people across the UK to take pride in their decorations and share them far and wide.”

Syd and wife Jan with son Lee Sykes.
Jan Sykes outside her home in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.
Syd Sykes outside his home in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.
The house in Parkhurst Road, Pennywell.