Bernie’s illuminations still lighting up young faces after 32 years

Want to read more?

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?


Problems logging in and require
technical support? Click here
Subscribe Now

After more than three decades, a million smiles and thousands of pounds raised for charity, Bernie’s Jackson’s lights in Whiting Bay are still attracting families and spreading festive cheer each year.

The tradition, spanning over 32 years, remains as popular as ever and the wonder that can be seen in children’s eyes and the smiling faces are what continues to motivate Bernie to keep decorating his house every Christmas.

Bernie is now 79 years old and admits that it is not easy maintaining the tradition, especially some of the more athletic tasks, such as climbing ladders to affix lights to the side of the building.

Thankfully, for everyone who visits the attraction each year, Bernie’s son Michael has been enlisted to do the ladder work and even his granddaughter, Abbie Jackson, has been involved in helping her grandfather with the fundraising.

Abbie has created a JustGiving page at which collects donations from those who appreciate the annual illuminations and those who cannot make it in person this year.

Over the years Bernie has had a small donation box and any funds that he collects he has donated to worthwhile causes, many of them local; this year it is Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Helping to attract dozens of visitors every evening, and filling every available inch of his garden, are fun festive decorations, some more than 28 years old and others purchased just this year, which Bernie lays out over a few days in the run up to Christmas.

One family who visit every year – often multiple times – told the Banner:  ‘Christmas does not feel like Christmas until we have been to seen Bernie’s lights. We live close by so we pop over every few days.

‘The kids love the flashing lights and the inflatable decorations and we usually take a Christmas photo here each year.’

Bernie’s lights can be seen at Montrose Terrace in Whiting Bay. They are switched on after dusk and usually stay on until around 9pm every evening.