Edinburgh couple hit the lights to save cancer tot


By Oliver Farrimond

AN EDINBURGH couple has set up a festive lights extravaganza in their own garden to raise money for a tot desperate for life-saving cancer surgery.

Ross Anderton, 22 months old, has a rare form of eye cancer – called orbital rhabdomyosarcoma – and needs more than £120,000 for crucial treatment in the United States.

And now Kenny Kirkwood, 65, and wife Jackie, 63, have lent their hand to the youngster’s plight by setting up a spectacular Christmas display, complete with wishing well for tourists to toss in their spare change.

They hope to raise more than £500 with the stunt at their home in Newtongrange, which includes a 6ft Santa, a polar bear and three lit-up reindeer.

Mr Kirkwood said: “”We saw the tale in the paper and wanted to help the wee lad.

“Every year we ask people who appreciate our decorations to leave some money and we always donate it to charity – last year we raised £250 for the Sick Kids.

“People can put any spare change in the wishing well, which we bring in at night. We’ve got everything in the garden – apart from a partridge in a pear tree.”

However the generous move may be the couple’s last as they are planning to move house before next Christmas.

The selfless couple have also reached out to local pubs to help chip in for the cause, and are hoping to convince The Dean Tavern to lend a hand to the effort.

He added: “The 6ft Santa used to sing carols too but he broke and lost his voice – he’s still very entertaining though.

“All of the lights and music cost us an extra £200 for our electricity bill over the festive period but it’s worth it to see people smiling and make money for a good cause.”


Passers-by can also trigger one of 21 Christmas carols by pressing a button on their front gate.

However the couple’s generous move may be their last, as they are planning to move to Haddington before next Christmas – despite neighbours’ pleas to stay.

Mr Kirkwood added: “We’re off to Haddington. The locals have threatened us with death if we go, but maybe the new owner will continue the tradition.”

Baby Ross’s mother, Lesley Lauder, from Ormiston in East Lothian, said that she was delighted with the support.

Lesley, 38, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic.”

“We’re still not sure if the NHS is going to fund the operation so it is great to see people getting behind us, especially at this time of year when money is tight.

“We’re grateful to the couple.”

The display will run until early January.

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