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Couple put Christmas lights up in October to cheer up neighbours during pandemic

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Christmas lights are up on the home of Ian and Helen Cochran in Hamilton (Picture: SWNS)
Christmas lights are up on the home of Ian and Helen Cochran in Hamilton. (SWNS)

A couple have put up their Christmas lights two months early to cheer up their neighbours after a tough year dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Ian Cochran, 68, and his wife Helen, also 68, decided to decorate their home in October because they felt the residents of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, needed cheering up.

Ian has been illuminating his house for around 35 years – usually in December.

But this year the grandad-of-two unpacked his Christmas decorations in September and spent two weeks fixing them to the front of the house.

The lights were finally switched on on 1 October, to the delight of neighbours, particularly children.

The lights have been cheering up locals (Picture: SWNS)
The Cochrans' lights have been cheering up locals. (SWNS)

Ian said: "We find it very gratifying seeing the reaction to people of all ages enjoying them.

"I thought about it early September knowing many people will be depressed with dark winter nights approaching and possibly no contact with anyone then, and nearer Christmas, with their families.

"It makes us feel happier knowing it's brought some smiles during these troubled times."

Helen said: "The lights have been going up for 35 years. We started in our last house, and then moved here.

"People are coming out to look at them. Somebody was dancing outside,

"Ian put them out to cheer people up."

Christmas came two months early in Hamilton (Picture: SWNS)
Christmas came two months early in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. (SWNS)

She added: "You should hear the kids screaming. One car was pulling up and as they pulled away, another was pulling up.

"It is a bit of cheer."

The lights are only being switched on at weekends, in the run-up to Christmas.

Ian is hoping businesses might like to sponsor the display to help with running costs.

There is still hope there could be a normal Christmas this year after Boris Johnson hinted last week he may suspend the “rule of six”, which limits the number of people in England who meet up, for the festive holiday.

The prime minister told ITV his government would do everything it could to ensure families were not split up for Christmas dinner and grandparents were not left out.

When asked if he would let grandparents off the rule, he replied: “Listen to me, we're doing everything we can, everything we can to make sure Christmas for everybody is as normal as possible.”

MPs voted to continue the rule of six on Tuesday, meaning most social gatherings of more than six people will remain illegal in England.

Watch: MPs vote in favour of ‘rule of six’ regulations in England

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