Britain’s oldest Christmas fairy lights still going strong | Daily News

Britain’s oldest Christmas fairy lights still going strong

Britain’s oldest Christmas fairy lights are still going strong after 48 years - without a single bulb needing replacement.

Vina Shaddick, 68, was a teenager when she bought the colourful string of lights from Woolworths in 1969, the year the Beatles performed their final show on the roof of the Abbey Road studios.

The durable lights cost just £3 and have lasted for nearly 50 years.

Now her son Ross Shaddick, 38, is looking forward to the lights illuminating his house for another year, in pride of place in the front window.

They are now back on display at the family home in Plymouth, Devon, where they remain wrapped around a plastic Christmas tree which is kept under plastic the rest of the year.

Ross said: “I will be with Mum in her nursing home on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the tree will be at home - I’m not sure the care home would want the tree there, I very much doubt the lights will pass an electrical test.

“The main thing is that these days they come with an AC adaptor which changes the current. I’m looking forward to hopefully marking 50 years, the main thing is to look after them really well. I put them away with them still on the tree so we don’t have to keep wrapping them and unwrapping them.”

Two years ago Ross bought a set of 200 coloured LED lights, which are draped around trees in the front garden - framing the vintage set which his mother bought.

“I will only have them on if I’m in the room with them - to keep an eye on them. As the years go on I increase my checks,” the music teacher said.

“I don’t know if there will come a time when they stop working or their not worth the danger. The worst issue is if the plastic around the wire begins to deteriorate. But they are the very stable component in my life. It’s nice to keep the tradition going. The old lights are much better quality than what you get these days and they seem to be made of strong stuff. I’ll carry on putting it up until the lights fizzle out. They are older than me and have been here all my life. It’s been a constant and I hope they keep on working.”

The lights came with a spare set of bulbs, but the originals have never needed replacing.

Ross said the lights were made of sterner stuff than the LED version he bought two years ago for £20, which are already on the blink.

Vina now lives in a nursing home due to her health, but her son is delighted to have the dainty lights adorning the tree, and will show her a picture of them when he visits on Christmas Day.

Her son, who will celebrate with his dog Klera, an eight-year-old Cairn terrier, added: “The new ones do flash - that’s the beauty of technology now.

“You can do things that are so versatile. But not a single bulb has been changed on the old set.”

Vina said: “I can still remember buying them. It was the second year I was married and I went in my lunchtime.

“Word had got round that Woolies had a special delivery of lights from Germany. They hold a lot of memories for me. They really don’t make them like this anymore. I can’t imagine a set bought today - which are much pricier - lasting as well as these. I guess you could say I’ve had my money’s worth from them. They’ve never let me down and it’s looking as though they might outlast me now.”

Mirror


 

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