A family who set up a Christmas exhibit in their backyard were forced to close it after claiming to be victims of abuse and vandalism.The ‘Christmas House’ – the Lucas family home in the village of Govilon, near Abergavenny – will not turn on its lights again after it has been the target of online abuse and vandalism.The family have turned on the lights to raise money for One Life Autism Support Group and have so far raised around £ 1,500.Known to their neighbors as the “Christmas House,” the Lucas family started getting ready 11 months ago when they planted 17 Christmas trees in their garden, ready for the year.
They also built a log cabin for Santa Claus and made room for the towering snowman now sitting in their backyard. And that’s it to raise money for a charity close to their hearts after four family members were diagnosed with autism.Papa Darren Lucas, 54, said: “We’ve been planning it all year round. We’ve been installing them since October. We’re in our fifth week at the moment and not quite done.“In January, we planted Christmas trees all around the garden – 17 of them. We built fences, we built a log cabin.“People think we are crazy but we want the garden to look like Christmas. People used to call us Christmas house.“We didn’t realize how big it was until we started to light it all up. My son, all year round he has been scouring the internet looking at America where he can find unusual things. “
However, according to Darren Lucas, a minority of people were not happy with the display, especially the number of people it attracted.“We’ve had members of the public abused and spat on, we’ve had people rowing with the residents. It’s not everyone but a small minority,” he said.Darren has also been a victim of online abuse and called the messages he received about his family “disgusting”.He also said that someone made fun of his autistic daughter for the way she spoke.He believes some residents were upset by the volume of people visiting the street, but insisted that cars visiting the exhibit be parked elsewhere and that tours be conducted in a safe manner against Covid.
People were forced to follow a one-way system and adults were asked to wear masks if they visited the lights.As a result, the family will not be turning on the lights on Sunday night and are discussing whether to remove the display together.“We feel so sad that we have worked all year to do this. All I want to do is get the message out for autism awareness.”They were hoping to be able to move the display to a public place in Ebbw Vale, but are unable to do so now due to Covid restrictions banning outdoor attractions.