Bright spark has a lightbulb moment

 IT’S a festive wonderland – lights festoon every corner of the sprawling property, blow-up Santas beckon invitingly to passersby and a miniature train toots its way across the lawn.

Welcome to the region’s most impressive Christmas lights display, as voted by you.

Kootingal grandfather of three Alan Betts has been hailed our “master of lights” after earning almost 700 votes – more than half the entire tally – in The Northern Daily Leader’s Christmas lights competition.

Eighteen homes and a church entered the competition but it was Mr Betts’ tastefully adorned Gill St property that was deemed the finest.

In only his second year as a Christmas lights connoisseur, Mr Betts devoted two full weeks to setting up his display.

He said making the display interactive, using solar lights and not overdoing the decorations were the secrets to creating his look.

“We also had a lot of grassed area for kids to run around on,” Mr Betts said.

“We had a lot of animated displays and music, but we still didn’t expect to get as many people as we did.

“We seemed to get the proportion right. Some homes have far too many lights and others not enough.”

Mr Betts paid tribute to his late father-in-law Bill Dyson, who started the Christmas lights legacy in the family before he passed away.

When Mr Dyson’s wife Marilyn Dyson could no longer keep the display going in her South Tamworth home, the Bettses took over the tradition.

“We used solar lights in the lawn area but everything on the verandah was plug-in,” Mr Betts said.

“It’s great seeing all the smiles it brings to kids’ faces.”

Mr Betts’ won $400 cash courtesy of The Leader for his efforts and another $400 to donate to his chosen charity, the GS Kidd Special School in Gunnedah.

He said he was already planning a more elaborate display for next year.

Runner-up in the competition was awarded to Louisa Mather of Lindsay St, Westdale, who won  $200 cash.

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