Neighbours in St Albans streets set up living advent calendar to raise funds for local charity

Day 15 of the living calendar which residents of Folly Avenue, Kimberley Road and Ladysmith Road are

Day 15 of the living calendar which residents of Folly Avenue, Kimberley Road and Ladysmith Road are revealing in their windows over the Christmas period to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital - Credit: Archant

A group of neighbours will be counting down the days to Christmas in a different way this year to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

Instead of guzzling a chocolate a day, residents of Ladysmith Road, Kimberley Road, Folly Avenue and Cannon Street in St Albans, are unveiling a festive window display each day of advent in a bid to raise money for the ‘Go Bessie Bear fund’.

The fund, started by six-year-old Bessie Davis’s mum, Abby Orchard, aims to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital after she was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF1) in Summer 2014.

She soon began 14 months of chemotherapy after benign brain tumours began to severely affect her mobility, leaving her wheelchair bound.

On December 7 Bessie and her little brother Ned put up their ‘Living Advent’ window, with designs created by their dad, Mike Davis.

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The day also marked a special occasion for Bessie.

On their fundraising page, Abby said: “We are happy to say that after 14 months of chemo and great care at GOSH and from the local Watford Hospital team Bessie is back on her feet and finishes this round of chemo on December 7th!!”.

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The neighbours were inspired to create the ‘St Albans Living Calendar’ after a group of residents in Saltaire, Bradford, began creating festive window displays in 2006.

Louise Restell, 43, of Kimberley Road, is also taking part. She said: “It’s been great getting to know other members of our community that I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

“It’s brought us together and it’s starting to feel like the place I grew up, it’s really lovely, and for such an important cause.

“All types of people have got involved, it’s not just for the children, and there’s a real community feel.”

If you would like to donate to the ‘Go Bessie Bear fund’ by sponsoring the calendar, visit:

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