The community has been left devastated by the news that Mr Christmas himself, Dave Press, sadly passed away recently – but his festive lights will beam brighter than ever this year thanks to volunteers.
Family, friends and community members have pitched in this year to keep Dave’s tradition of putting up incredible Christmas lights for charity alive.
Dave, who passed away on Tuesday, November 5, put up his iconic Christmas lights for over 25 years at his home in Battlers Green Drive to raise money for Bloodwise – a charity dedicated to beating blood cancer.
His house quickly became synonymous with the Christmas period for families across the area and he managed to raise roughly £30,000 for charity with his extraordinary decorations.
The Radlett man, 76, initially wasn’t going to put the lights up this year – he’d already said that last year was likely to be his last. However, his family told RadlettNews that, days before his passing, he told a close friend that ‘if anything happened’, he still wanted the decorations to go up.
Dave also insisted on paying for all the decorations himself each year, costing him thousands of pounds overall – though volunteers last year did help him out and fundraise.
His daughter, Debbie, said: “The community have been amazing, and it’s such an honour that people are putting themselves out there to help fulfil his wishes – it’s exactly what he would’ve done for other people, so it’s really heart-warming.
“Dad was amazing; he was our hero. He was such a do-gooder and what he did at Christmas was just the tip of the iceberg – he did so much for other people, including taking pensioners on day trips and things like that, even though he was only about 10 years younger than them. He loved everyone. He always wanted to help people in every situation, and never wanted to see anyone upset.”
The father-of-three’s 5,000-odd Christmas light tradition didn’t actually begin at his home – it started around 50 years ago when he was a station commander at Radlett Fire Station.
He was inspired to start raising money for Bloodwise when a neighbour lost her son to Leukaemia.
When he left the station in 1999, his colleagues asked if he wanted to take the lights with him. Dave then carried on the displays at his home.
Debbie added: “There was so much to dad that made him the amazing person he was. He was an amazing husband to my mum, Joy and an incredible parent to me, my sister Sharron and my brother Glenn, who sadly passed away in June; they’ll be reunited now.
“He was incredible with his seven grandchildren; Zoe, Roxanne, Lulu, Ross, Cameron, Guy and Danni, as well as with his great grandchildren, Rhonni and Louie.
“We want to thank the community for everything they’ve done to help during this difficult period – they’ve shown how much dad meant to them.
“I also want to say a big thank you to Tanya Coxill, who’s gone above and beyond for us and been a huge help with organising everything.”