A woman vowing to continue her mother’s festive 40-year legacy has been nominated for the Watford Observer Community Heroes Award.

Sharon Markham, who was recommended for the award by friend Linda Hubbard, promised to keep putting on the Croxley Green “Christmas House” event in memory of her mother, Carol Edwards who died of cancer last year.

For four decades, Sharon’s family have used their home in Lancing Way as a community venue for people to share in the Christmas spirit, enjoy gift giving and sharing sweets, and as a hub for charitable donations.

The “Christmas House”, first started by Sharon’s parents Carol and Dave, has raised thousands for charity to date – not least this year when just shy of £5,500 was raised for organisations in the area.

After Sharon’s mother died, she said her family felt ready to “give up” – but Carol made Sharon promise to keep up her legacy.

Sharon, 48, from Garston, became involved with the Christmas House her parents started in 2000. She organises volunteers from Croxley Green to help decorate her parent’s property with lights and embellishments – while her father, Dave, otherwise known as ‘Mr Christmas’ still dresses up as Santa to greet children in his grotto.

Linda, who nominated Sharon, said: “I have lived in Croxley Green all my life and I have always taken my children to the Christmas House.

“Sharon’s parents did it until her mother passed away last year and since then Sharon has really pulled out the stops – though Sharon became more heavily involved over the last few years.

“Everyone in Croxley Green loves her.”

Sharon, a children’s nanny from Garston, said: “People say Christmas starts when the lights go on in Lancing Way.

“When mum died last Christmas of cancer, we wanted to turn the lights off and give up - but she said we had to carry on her legacy, and she made me promise to keep going.

“This year, people in Croxley Green queued for four hours in the rain to see Santa in his grotto and in one night alone we managed to raise £800.

“We took just under £5,500 this Christmas some of which was donated to various charities and we still haven’t given it all out yet.”

Among her charitable donations, Sharon listed Mount Vernon, Watford Mencap, Croxley Guild and a cancer charity.

Hats and blankets were also made and collected for the special care baby unit at Watford General, while 550 selection boxes were given to the Starfish out patients Christmas party.

Donations have also been made to Great Ormond Street.

Speaking about her nomination, mother-of-two Sharon, said: “I am a bit shocked to be honest. I just can’t believe that someone actually nominated me. I got quite emotional when Linda told me.”

Her family website https://www.facebook.com/groups/369696866454514/