Girl, 11, is leading light in Christmas fundraiser to thank Ashgate Hospice for care of her family

An 11-year-old girl is spearheading her family’s festive lights display to raise money for the hospice which looked after her grandmother.

By Gay Bolton
Friday, 17th December 2021, 8:54 am
Kayleigh Cooke in the garden of her home at North Street, Tupton.
Kayleigh Cooke in the garden of her home at North Street, Tupton.

Kayleigh Cooke, of North Street, Holmgate, said: “Ashgate Hospice cared for my Nana for quite some time and also took care of us as a family right up to the day my Nana passed away in 2018. So I felt the need to pay them back.

"As a family we have always driven around and looked at light displays and I asked if it was something we could do.”

The Cookes launched their Christmas display in 2017, which usually attract around 100 visitors annually, and have raised around £1,000 over the years. Kayleigh said: “I love seeing people happy and the donations go to a very good cause.”

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Kayleigh with her dad Jonathan who put her ideas for the festive display into practice.

One of the illuminations stands head and shoulders above the rest for Kayleigh after whom the display is named.

She said: “Bernie is my favourite – he’s an acrylic light-up St Bernard’s dog. I love dogs.”

Her dad Jonathan has spent six weeks putting out the display which will run until New Year’s Eve and is available for the public to look at daily from 5pm to 9pm.

This year’s illuminations will also be raising money for Gears of GoodWill, which feeds the homeless in Derby every Friday night.

Kayleigh with Bernie, her favourite illumination.

Jonathan said: “We chose Gears of GoodWill because over the last year we have become good friends with CEO Mark Smith as he is a fellow biker and got to know a lot of the volunteers seeing what work they do closely made us decide to donate to them.”

Air Ambulance has benefited from the family of five’s fundraising in the past. Kayleigh, who has a sister, Lily, and a brother, Josh, said: “Wanting to work in a medical environment influenced me but also the fact that they don’t get any government funding.”

The family has amassed £1,500 worth of decorations for the 2021 display which is the first in three years. The pandemic scuppered fundraising in 2020 and work was being done on the front of the property in 2019.

Kayleigh, a pupil at Highfields School in Matlock, said: “Due to Covid, the layout is very different this year to allow social distancing.”

To find out more visit Kay kay’s Christmas lights on Facebook.