A ROW of houses and cottages have continued their festive tradition in Newton this year, emblazoning their homes from top to bottom with Christmas lights and decorations.

With a real "tight knit community" felt between the neighbours on Crow Lane, the tradition began as a "porch competition" a couple of years ago, where passers-by voted on their favourite decoration.

After the fun and success of this, the idea "grew and grew" and developed into a street affair, which stretches down the row of cottages and houses down the street and across the road.

As attention grew towards the festive decorations, with residents looking forward to the creations each year, the neighbours decided to expand the idea and raise funds for Willowbrook Hospice - a charity they all have a connection with.

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St Helens Star: The houses are raising funds for Willowbrook hospiceThe houses are raising funds for Willowbrook hospice

Since they started raising money in 2018, the group have collectively raised more than £9,000 for the hospice from online and in person donations, with one of the cottage owners often sitting out with a donation bucket and speaking with passers-by.

With the neighbours switching on their lights all at once, this has attracted hundreds from the community to get into the festive spirit and help the group raise money for Willowbrook.

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St Helens Star: The Crow Lane cottages have been creating their winter wonderlands for a number of years, raising more than £9,000 for Willowbrook since 2018The Crow Lane cottages have been creating their winter wonderlands for a number of years, raising more than £9,000 for Willowbrook since 2018

Neil Sankey, one of the cottage owners on Crow Lane, said: "Hundreds of people came out to see our switch on and encourage us. It real does bring the community together and people feel it is the start of Christmas.

"Willowbrook was chosen naturally as a cause to raise money for as we all have an affinity with them over the years, and after the pandemic it's essential that their funds are topped up."

Adding that he feels lucky to live in area with such a tight community, Neil said that his neighbours from all over the street have helped to get their lights and decorations up in time for their switch on.

Many others in the community have also supported their cause online by sharing their page, posting positive comments, and donating to Willowbrook - with one resident calling the designs "fabulous".

St Helens Star: Crow Lane Cottages, Newton-le-WillowsCrow Lane Cottages, Newton-le-Willows

In addition to their festive decorations, the neighbours have also got together to put on big celebrations for VE Day, as well as organising gin festivals across their gardens.

To support their cause and raise vital funds for Willowbrook Hospice, visit their fundraising page here