Essex

Brentwood teenager's Christmas lights show thrills crowd

Christmas lights display Image copyright Ben Charles
Image caption The display is spread across five homes in Alpha Road

About 100 people watched as a teenager switched on his latest Christmas lights display.

Ben Charles, 18, decked his parents' home in Brentwood, Essex, with colourful illuminations set to music for the fifth Christmas in a row.

His efforts have raised more than £3,000 for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) over the past four years.

The teenager hopes to reach the £5,000 mark this Christmas.

Image copyright Ben Charles
Image caption Ben Charles estimates more than 100 people watched him switch on the latest display

Mr Charles, a sixth former at St Martin's School in Brentwood, said: "It is just a hobby. Some people play games or scroll on Instagram, I do this.

"It is a combination of technical and creative and is almost a year-round project. I do Halloween too and I started planning this in January," he said.

"The neighbours have always loved it, and surprisingly we have never had a complaint about the music every day. Families come year after year, each time bringing more people with them."

Image copyright Ben Charles
Image caption The teenager, who put on his first display in 2015, is planning to study electronic engineering and computer programming at university

The musical element of the show lasts about 20 minutes and is played each night, at 18:00 and 19:00 GMT.

Jon Rodriguez, head of fundraising at EHAAT, said: "Ben's display last year, which featured music from The Greatest Showman was amazing, but he has really surpassed himself this year."

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