Final light-up for Ballina's showcase
By RENEE REDMOND
A HOME which has been dubbed 'Santa's House' by Ballina residents will light-up for the last time this Christmas in memory of its keeper.
Gordon Writer, better known as Santa, had been preparing the Christmas light-up for his Norlyn Avenue home since August.
But on November 6 he passed away, aged 90, having spent the past seven years lighting-up his home and neighbourhood with the spirit of Christmas.
The carefully decorated home has raised more than $18,000 for the 2LM Christmas Appeal charity since 1998.
But his family said the house would now be sold.
His son, Paul Writer, is one of 13 children, and said the family would finish off the decorations which Mr Writer had been working on this year.
"We're doing this to pay tribute to dad, but after this year there will be no more lights for us," he said.
Mr Writer moved to Ballina with his wife Thelma May from Moree in 1982.
"Mum died in 1992 and it wasn't until 1996 that dad had an idea to put some decorations up in memory of mum. We approached 2LM Christmas Appeal and in 1998 we raised $1795 for them," he said.
Paul said as the displays grew, the donations did as well and last year $2516.35 was raised.
"The garden is part of the display as well. Dad used to come out every morning and afternoon to maintain it and plant new flowers in preparation for Christmas," he said.
"Dad loved getting dressed up in his Santa suit and going out to the front garden, handing out lollies to the kids.
"He'd eat a few himself and sometimes he would fall asleep in his chair on the front lawn and blend in with the decorations."
In keeping with tradition, Paul said the lights would be turned on every night from De- cember 1-26.
Tomorrow, a funeral service for Gordon Writer will be held at 2pm at the St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Cherry Street, Ballina.