A kind-hearted stranger has donated £400 to help Farnham’s famous ‘Christmas House’ stay illuminated this year after reading the Herald’s appeal to find a sponsor.

Live-in carer Katie Deak, originally from Hungary, was compelled to help Wrecclesham fundraiser Gail Whattingham, 76, keep her house lit up this Christmas.

Katie said: “When I came here I knew nobody, but I had so much support from so many people even though I didn’t know them, so I try to give back to the community.”

Moved by Gail’s plight after the increase in energy prices put the annual must-see display in Greenfield Road in jeopardy, Katie donated money to cover Gail’s bills.

“She’s a wonderful woman who wants to make sure everyone’s happy,” added Katie.

Gail has been decorating her house at Christmas for charity since 1987. For the past ten years she has been supporting Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care, a cause made even more meaningful by the death of her partner, Chris, in 2017 and her close friend Jill, last year.

Gail said this year’s display “wouldn’t have been possible” without Katie’s donation.

Having cumulatively raised more than £1 million for charity, Gail began fundraising aged ten and her efforts were recognised when she was selected to be a torch bearer for the London 2012 Olympics.

The annual Christmas fixture is made worth it, Gail says, by all those who come to see it and donate.

“People who came around in 1987 are now bringing their children and grandchildren,” said Gail.

This was how Katie discovered the house.

“I took my clients and friends to see it and I saw how much happiness it brought them,” said Katie.

It was this that inspired Katie to donate. “In Farnham I found my home,” she said. “Gail has given so much to the community – I hope she will be doing this for many more years.”

This year Gail has added inflatable lights and a sleigh to her assortment of lights so children and families can take photographs in front of them.

Farnham’s ‘Christmas House’ can be found on Greenfield Road. It will be lit up between 5.30pm and 9.30pm. Donate to the hospice online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/TuckwellsChristmasLightsTour22 or put money through Gail’s letterbox.