Manchester

Wigan Council light up boy's Christmas with street lamp gift

Ben McKenna (centre) with his new light Image copyright Wigan Council
Image caption Ben said he was "speechless" when he opened the gift to find the light inside

A boy who collects street lamps has had his Christmas lit up by an unexpected present from his local council.

Ben McKenna's grandmother contacted Wigan Council to ask where she could buy the LED lights they have been installing across the area.

In a light bulb moment, the switched-on street lighting team decided to brighten Ben's day with an unusual gift - a light in Christmas wrapping paper.

The 15-year-old said receiving the lamp had left him "speechless".

He said he had wanted one of the lights, which was provided free of charge by the council's supplier, after seeing them being fitted.

Ben, whose collection also includes sodium lanterns and other LED lamps, added that he had become "fascinated by how the technology has grown" over the years.

'Very knowledgeable'

His grandmother Carol said he had always been fascinated by lights.

"Even when he was a baby and we went to Asda, he wanted to go down the light bulb section," she said.

"Most kids wanted sweets, but he was happy with a light bulb."

Earlier in the year, Ben spent a day with the street lighting team to find out more about their work.

That visit was marked with the presentation of a second-hand outer bowl of a street light.

Ben was also signed as the youngest member of the Institute of Lighting Professionals.

Chris Pennington, the council's technical and design officer for street lighting, said he was happy Ben had been turned on to a career in street lighting.

"He is very knowledgeable and was asking us about what qualifications he needs to progress. We are delighted to encourage it in any way."

In August 2014, the council announced it would be spending £11m on replacing existing street lighting with 31,000 of the LED lamps.

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