In the quiet town of Westhoughton, East Lancs, Mason W.Bro Paul Spann of Internet Lodge No 9659 embarked on an extraordinary hobby in 2021, igniting not only the night sky but also the hearts of the community. Seeking a new pastime, Paul delved into the mesmerizing world of Xlights, a passion that would soon transform into a captivating spectacle for a noble cause.
Paul, now an active member of the Manchester Masons in Craft, Chapter and Mark and soon to join The Lodge of Silent Temple, has been a freemason since 2014, being initiated into the Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forrest no 283 in Clayton-Le-Moors.
Driven by a spirit of generosity, Paul adorned his residence with a dazzling array of lights, creating a mesmerizing symphony of colours in sync with carefully chosen songs. This enchanting display wasn’t just for aesthetics; it was a beacon of hope for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.
The heart-warming initiative began modestly in 2021, as people donated to witness the radiant spectacle, with all proceeds directed towards the hospice. A 15ft signing Christmas Tree, two smaller trees, four hoops, and eight candy canes adorned the driveway, each pulsating with vibrant hues under Paul’s meticulous programming. Elle Elf, the lead vocalist, and a host of backing singers illuminated the house, accompanied by stars and general lights that danced harmoniously with the melodies.
But Paul’s creativity didn’t stop there. The garage was transformed into a canvas for a special LED screen, casting an array of effects that captivated onlookers. The magic extended to Halloween nights in 2022, adding a spooky twist to the already dazzling repertoire.
The magnitude of Paul’s undertaking was no small feat. The costs associated with props and LEDs were substantial, making it a financially demanding hobby. However, every pound donated went directly to Derian House Children’s Hospice, underscoring the pure altruism driving this luminous endeavour.
As the years progressed, so did the scale and impact of Paul’s festive lights. With a firm commitment to evolving the show, new songs were intricately programmed, breathing fresh life into the core favourites. The community eagerly anticipated each annual unveiling, knowing they were not just spectators but contributors to a meaningful cause.
The numbers spoke volumes. The 2021 Christmas Lights Show raised an impressive 3,060 for Derian House Children’s Hospice, setting the stage for even greater achievements in the following years. The 2022 Christmas Lights Show, featured on BBC North West Tonight, surpassed expectations, raising 2,415. Meanwhile, the 2023 Christmas Light Show set an ambitious target of 2,500, emphasizing the unwavering commitment to making a difference.
Not confined to the festive season, Paul extended his charitable efforts to Halloween, where the 2022 show for Derian House Children’s Hospice raised 1,471, and the 2023 Halloween Light Show for The Hub Westhoughton garnered 1,000.
The community response was overwhelming, drawing spectators from Westhoughton, Bolton, Chorley, and Wigan. Families gathered to witness the 35-minute spectacle, enchanted by the symphony of lights and music. The show’s popularity soared, boasting 96,694 lights as of 2023, including the latest addition, the charming Selfie Elf.
With a heart-warming blend of creativity, technology, and community spirit, Paul Spann’s light shows have become a cherished annual tradition. What began as a hobby evolved into a beacon of light, radiating joy and support for those in need. As the lights continue to sparkle, so do the hope and warmth they bring to Derian House Children’s Hospice and The Hub Westhoughton, proving that sometimes, the brightest lights shine from the purest intentions.
For more information visit the Hemley Close Lights page in facebook.