The couple behind Albany’s best-known Christmas lights display has thanked the community for its support after raising more than $89,000 for Cystic Fibrosis WA. The final tally was significantly higher than the previous year’s donation of $53,000. Jeremy Stevenson, who organises the annual display with his wife Lorraine and a “big team of volunteers”, said the reputation of the lights had grown significantly. He said more than 5500 visitors from outside Albany visited the display and more than 30,000 visitors passed through over the 27-night season, four nights longer than in 2021. “We were quite blessed with the weather, particularly from December 15 onward when it was absolutely perfect,” he said. “The display was also larger, so there was more room inside so we were able to grow our capacity as well, which meant we didn’t have the lengthy queues that we had in previous years. “In the past years, some people would see the queue and just keep driving because they didn’t want to wait, so we alleviated that problem.” The 2022 display featured more than 450,000 globes and took a team of volunteers more than two months to build. Mr Stevenson said the red lights of the rose garden were an especially popular addition to the Gledhow property’s display. “They in themselves are not Christmassy but it was something we had discussed including in previous years because the rose is an important symbol to the CF community,” he said. “It’s the basis of their logo and symbol.” Mr Stevenson said the weather made progress on the build slow at times for the core group of six volunteers but there was plenty of community support by way of supplying equipment hire and materials. He also said the volunteers being clearly distinguishable in “drummer boy jackets” also led to a lot of positive feedback because they were also on hand to help by taking photographs. “We have a massive team of volunteers who were on hand throughout the season — from Lorraine and my point of view they are the real owners of the lights and are the people that make it work,” he said. “We also had incredible support from the City of Albany through the regional event sponsorship because without that we couldn’t have presented something on the magnitude of what we did. “There was also wonderful support from Southern Ports, the Stan Perron Group, Correct Flow Hydraulics and McDonald’s— those are the ones who supported us with sponsorship, then there were another 12 or so businesses which helped with materials or equipment hire.” Data collated by surveying visitors indicated that word-of-mouth through social media and community members urging visitors to the region to see the lights played a big part boosting this season’s numbers. Mr Stevenson said it was great that “locals were quite proud to bring people out” and that it had become a community event. “It’s a tourist attraction in its own right, it’s a community event in its own right and it is not limited to a demographic,” he said. “You could say it was a family event, but it’s not really because there are retired couples, we get tour buses, we get hen’s nights and all sorts of different groups through — plus we get the families.” The long process of taking down the display has now started, but Mr Stevenson said he had not thought about how he would make 2023 bigger and better just yet. “Taking it down might take a bit longer than normal,” he said.