When you think huge Christmas lights display, who doesn’t have a flash of the Griswalds and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
As impressive as that fictitious display was (when it worked), Australian dad David Richards has put Clark Griswald to shame.
David Richards kicked off Christmas celebrations in Australia’s capital city of Canberra by earning a Guinness World Records title for the largest image made of LED lights.
He couldn’t have pulled it off at home, so borrowed another venue: a shopping center.
With 1,194,380 lights making up a 3D image of three Christmas gifts spanning 3865m2, as well as tens of thousands of lights creating a magical backdrop, the display transformed Canberra’s CBD shopping center into a festival of light to raise money for the charity SIDS and Kids ACT.
“Christmas lights really get people into the festive spirit. We decorated our home for years and people came from everywhere to see our lights,” says Richards. “This year, who knows how many people will come along?”
Richards, and his wife, Janean, a senior government lawyer, and his wife lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. So every year they set up a lights display to bring happiness to families and to raise money for SIDS and Kids ACT, a charity dedicated to preventing sudden and unexpected deaths in children age 6 and younger.
“We’ve done this because we want to help the organisation that helped us after our tragic loss in 2002,” says Richards. “We hope to provide ongoing support for the counselling and bereavement services provided by SIDS and Kids ACT.”
Over the years the Richards have raised more than $200,000 for the local charity. This year David Richards rallied support from the community.
He says the Christmas lights display would not have been possible without generous contributions from local businesses.
“We have architects, civil engineers, tradies, construction companies, sound engineers… all volunteering and donating goods and services, as well as wonderful sponsors including Canberra CBD Limited, Luton Properties, BLOC and the Canberra Centre,” he says.
Chris Sheedy from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS says this event is a special one. “Every record attempt is officially amazing,” Sheedy says. “But an event such as this, one that celebrates Christmas, brings a community together, thrills families and raises money for a fantastic charity, is one that GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is truly honoured to be involved with, especially in our 60th anniversary year.”
SIDS and Kids ACT is a charity dedicated to eliminating sudden and unexpected death in children from conception to six years of age. To find out more, please VISIT www.sidsandkids.org.