Tributes to man who would light up Chelston with award-winning Christmas display
- Credit: Archant
The king of Torbay’s Winter Glitterland, the much-loved Maurice Parnell, has died at the age of 85.
Maurice spent his whole life in Chelston and he became famous for an amazing Christmas display in Burridge Road, using tens of thousands bulbs, many imported from America, to literally light up the festive season.
At one point, the display exceeded 45,000 lights and became such a special feature of Christmas in Chelston.
It was clearly a labour of love for Maurice and his partner Wendy Hillgrove, a dedication brought so many festive memories for the community.
“The decorations were every year and he won the superclass section for the Winter Glitterland competition,” said Maurice’s daughter Denise.
“He would win the competition year after year and raised a lot of money in the process for Animals in Distress, Devon Air Ambulance and the Brixham lifeboat.
“Dad absolutely loved Christmas and he did all the lighting himself. The display was so big that it would take him nearly all year and the garden would be full of twinkly lights.
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“It was in the days before LED, so a lot of bulbs were involved, but he loved it.
“Dad would apply to the council to even have part of Burridge cordoned off because so many people wanted to watch the switching on of the lights.
“Dad was a telephone engineer, so he was very knowledgeable with electrics. He spent his entire working life in the trade.”
Maurice brought his festive to Chelston for a lifetime, having been born in the area and starting his education in Cockington.
“Dad attended the old Cockington Primary School, along with his brother, who now lives in Australia,” said Denise.
“The same teacher that taught Dad also taught me and we lived in Rosery Road at the time.
“He was a true Chelstonian, living in a flat in Mallock Road when he got married and I arrived.”
Maurice is survived by Denise and his partner Wendy.
The funeral was arranged by KJ Lack Funeral Director of St Marychurch, Torquay.