A Bassetlaw dad-of-three has gone viral after creating a “winter wonderland” in his back garden.
Tony McManus, a PE teacher from Retford, has packed his lawn with a Santa’s grotto, sleighs and hundreds of twinkling lights for the district’s youngsters to enjoy.
Hundreds of families have visited since the site’s opening on December 1, with some children comparing the festive set-up to “Disney Land”.
A video Tony posted of the site has also been viewed more than 1.1 million times after being picked up by website UniLad.
The project began as a distraction for Tony after he lost his mum, Maureen Mcmanus, to cancer in March 2016. Through it, Tony got to spend quality time and make special memories with his children Joseph, 17, Amelia, four, and Isabella, two.
He started by fashioning a sleigh out of two old arm chairs, but the project “grew and grew” into something more ambitious.
Tony doesn’t charge an entry fee, but any donations he receives are awarded to local charities.
This year’s causes are St Giles School in Retford and Karen Land, a Retford mum-of-five who is attempting to raise money for immunotherapy after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Tony and two of Karen’s children Sam, aged eight, and Ruby, aged six, participated in a balloon release in honour of Karen’s campaign.
Tony said: “As always, the community has reacted positively to the project and we have seen in excess of 1,000 people again.”
Asked how it feels to go viral, Tony replied: “I’m pleased as its raising awareness for the fundraising side of things, but it’s also great to talk to other people from Japan to Honduras and 30 other countries besides.
“I’ve been at pains to reply to all the 2,700 comments personally. I’m proud that a lot focus on me being a good parent. That’s a nice feeling.
“We have successfully secured two iPads for St Giles School in a 10 day run. However, funding is now being re-directed to Karen Land, a friend whose children I’ve also coached.
“Karen has been given three months to live and needs funds desperately to secure treatment in Germany to prolong her life.”
The “winter wonderland” is based on Holme Road, Retford.