George, 77, brings festive cheer with light display in Bo'ness garden

A pensioner was determined a hospital stay wasn’t going to stop him bringing festive joy to his community.
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George Barnett, 77, began preparations for his annual Christmas lights display in his Bo’ness garden in July. He was waiting for a hip replacement operation – which he successfully underwent two weeks ago - and he didn’t want to disappoint the crowds who turn up every year to see the colourful attraction.

He said: “I was worried that if I left it too late then I wouldn’t be able to get everything done in time so decided to make an early start. I’ve not got a big garden but there are so many lights, toys and baubles that it does take a good bit of time to organise.

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"Thankfully it is all done now and already people have been turning out to see it. It’s like the Blackpool illuminations. I love seeing everyone’s response, particularly all the children – that makes it all worthwhile.”

The garden in Bo'ness is turned into a winter wonderlandThe garden in Bo'ness is turned into a winter wonderland
The garden in Bo'ness is turned into a winter wonderland

His garden is packed with what seems like every inch of space covered in a colourful light, illuminated display or festive character. “I’ve built two arches this year and there is a train, as well as lots of Christmas teddies. And of course, there are several Santa Claus characters, along with polar bears and reindeer,” he said.

What had started out as an attraction in his Liddle Drive garden for his own grandchildren now sees the hundreds of youngsters turn up to view the sparkling lights. Tiny pupils from Deanburn nursery visited earlier this week and brought festive cheer by singing Christmas carols.

George added: “Santa turned up too and they all had a great time, singing and dancing. It was lovely.”

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He said his wife Elaine also loves seeing their garden being transformed with the many lights and decorations that they have collected over the years.

Lots of colourful characters on displayLots of colourful characters on display
Lots of colourful characters on display

George’s other claim to fame is that he was the youngest worker involved in the construction of the Forth Road Bridge, aged only 15. He also hoisted the flag over the bridge when HM The Queen performed the opening in 1964.