AN NHS hero was overcome with emotion after learning she has fought off stiff competition to be crowned the winner of our Christmas lights competition.
Our special contest, sponsored by BTMK Solicitors, attracted countless eye-catching entries as we looked to bring joy at the end of what has been an incredibly tough year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Hayley Black has emerged triumphant thanks to the stunning decorations outside her home on Castle View Road, Canvey, which includes a giant penguin.
As a result, Hayley has bagged a £100 John Lewis voucher and can officially say she has the best Christmas lights in the whole of south Essex.
Getting into the Christmas spirit – Hayley Black
Hayley, 46, is proud to have been victorious in our exciting competition.
She said: “I am so shocked and blown away that I have been chosen as the winner.
“There are so many great Christmas lights around south Essex and it’s amazing that mine have been chosen as the best.
“I love Christmas and doing things for other people to make them happy. I hope my house brings some joy to people as they walk or drive past.”
The inflatable giant penguin, which is nearly as tall as Hayley’s house, stands out on the street and played a key role in Hayley being chosen as the winner.
Trapped – Hayley tries to escape after being squashed by the giant penguin
But Hayley has revealed she had to be sneaky in order to snap up the lovable decoration.
She added: “I wanted to buy the penguin but my 16-year-old son wouldn’t let me.
“I waited until he went on holiday and then I bought it on Ebay!
“When it was delivered, I had to hide it and he wasn’t particularly pleased when he found out I had bought it against his wishes. In fact, my own son grounded me for a week because of it!
“Hopefully he has forgiven me now that it has helped us to win a competition.”
Huge – Hayley is dwarfed by the giant penguin
BTMK Solicitors selected Hayley as the successful entrant, but they were blown away by the pictures of Christmas lights which were submitted in our competition.
Ruth O’Connor, of BTMK Solicitors, said: “With lots of twinkling stars, snow scenes and Father Christmases galore, there was a dazzling selection of entries and picking just one winner was a tricky job.
“However, we simply couldn’t ignore the huge penguin and festive kitchen decorations!”
The win comes at the end of what has been a difficult year for Hayley, who has worked tirelessly for the NHS during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
All of the lights – the eye-catching decorations
Hayley is now working on managing the vaccination which has reached our shores in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
Emerging triumphant in our competition and getting into the Christmas spirit has allowed her to escape the doom and gloom of everything surrounding coronavirus.
Hayley admitted: “I don’t really enter competitions but I was told I should get involved in this one.
“Although I did submit pictures of my Christmas lights, I didn’t expect to win.
“It’s fantastic news and a great way to end what has been an incredibly challenging year.
Christmas dinner – Santa’s kitchen
“I have worked for the NHS for 27 years and it’s been difficult since the initial Covid outbreak in March.
“All of the NHS staff have been helping out with lots of different roles during the pandemic and I have done the same.
“I am currently supporting the hospitals in inputting the vaccination data, but this competition win has made my year.”