A PANTOMIME dame had the honour of switching on a family's charity Christmas lights as they aim to raise cash for a theatre's redevelopment project.

Each year the Diebelius family light up their home in Glisson Square in Shrub End, Colchester, with spectacular festive lights and their decorations have become so popular they have started raising funds for good causes.

This year they are collecting for Mercury Rising - the Mercury Theatre's fundraising drive to pay for the revamp of the popular venue and ensure the theatre is fit for purpose for many years to come.

To coincide with the collection, Anthony Stuart-Hicks who is treading the boards as Dotty Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Mercury this Christmas, got to switch on the lights.

Event organiser Glenys Diebelius said: “We do this because as a family we love Christmas and we go all out for Christmas.

"My husband Pip has been decorating the outside of the house since about 2008 - it started small and has grown every year, then three years ago we started to collect for charity.

"It's amazing to do something we love and also get the local community involved to raise money for good causes.

“Having Dame Trott at the event was just wonderful.

"I was star struck as were our kids and our friends.

"Never in a million years did I expect my cheeky request to actually come true.

"They all made the event wonderful but the Dame was the icing on the cake – what a truly wonderful man."