‘Christmas Drive’ is bringing the festive spirit
One Apex neighbourhood in Derry~Londonderry has raised more than £5,000 in a matter of weeks for two local charities as part of a Christmas fundraiser organised by a small group of tenants. Branded as ‘Christmas Drive’, the street in Shantallow has been visited by hundreds of families since mid-November; all keen to enjoy the fantastic array of Christmas lights and decorations on display.
As well as boosting Christmas spirit in the city, the display in Racecourse Drive is also raising funds for two charities – Foyle Hospice and HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) – with those visiting the street being asked to make a small donation if they can.
Laura Meehan, who has lived in Racecourse Drive since 2014, says it’s the best street to live on, commenting:
There is such community spirit around here, everyone is so friendly and looks after each other. It’s amazing to see so many people coming to see the display; it’s so lovely and we are so proud. From five o’clock onwards, the street does not empty and the atmosphere is brilliant. You don’t have to pay to see the street, but you can contribute at the donation boxes. All that we ask is that cars drive slowly because there are children around.
Explaining how ‘Christmas Drive’ was born, Laura continued:
Last year, because of lockdown, we wanted to do something to cheer up the kids in the community and so most of the street decorated the outside of their houses for Christmas. This year, we asked the whole street to do something collectively; and now each and every person on the street is involved. We take turns switching the lights on and off and replacing the batteries.
So many people came to see the street last year and this year has been really busy already. 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, commented:
Everyone living on ‘Christmas Drive’ should be extremely proud. Their hard work has already brought a huge amount of festive cheer to the city; and continues to raise money for two extremely worthwhile causes during this season of goodwill. We were delighted to support the tenants of Racecourse Drive with some tenant participation funding towards the display, which has helped to strengthen community spirit in the local area and bring neighbours together.
For more information visit the Christmas Drive Derry Facebook page.
‘Christmas Drive’ Video
Credit: Amelia Films