By Dan Coles
This festive tech junkie has spent £26,000 on a fancy Christmas light show which cost nearly as much as his house.
Tree surgeon Thomas Wheatley, 24, has created the displays at his parents three-bedroom home in Birmingham, which they bought for £30,000 30 years ago, for the last 14 years.
He first got a taste for creating the perfect yuletide light show by helping his mum and dad put up their own decorations in 2004, when he was just a youngster.
Now, every year he puts on a high-tech Christmas display where the music and lights are electronically synced to match each other – paying a mammoth one-off cost of £15,000 for the lights.
As he spends an additional £775 a year on average on electricity bills and maintenance, this puts his festive lights spend to date at £25,850.
Thomas said: “I started helping out with the light shows at my mum and dad’s house when I was about 10 years old, 14 years ago.
“My parents used to do the exact same thing, so as I got older I wanted to do it too, which has now become a tradition I like to stick to.
“My mum started doing it when I was young, but the more I watched her the more hooked I got, I just kept buying more.
“We use homemade decorations which we make together that we add to our display, I think that and the high tech element separates our display from any others.
“We like that it brings joy to the community, but an added bonus is how it helps raise money for important causes, which is why the cost doesn’t matter to us.”
Tom said what sets his light show apart from others is now technologically-driven it is.
His lights are on a timer which automatically starts the show at the predetermined time of 4.30pm to 9.30pm every night for 31 days throughout December.
And he programmes the control to the music he plays to ensure the music and lights match each other’s rhythm and tempo.
Each year Tom gets plenty of raised eyebrows – but he said his neighbours are thankful he can bring the spirit of Christmas to his neighbourhood.
And despite the impressive display, he insisted no one has ever had a problem with the brightness or noise from the lights and instead appreciate the effort he goes to.
Tom said: “So far I haven’t had any complaints from anyone.
“One of my favourite parts of the night is during the switch on and seeing all the people take photos and hearing them cheering after the countdown.
“It’s also great when strangers come and tell me what a great job I’m doing for the community.”
Tom loves to put the lights to good use by raising cash for worthy causes with an opening night switch-on and this year is donating the proceeds to mental health charities.
He said: “This year i want to raise as much money as possible for mental health.
“I want everyone to come and see my display, and thank my community for making all of this possible.”