Bracknell man Nicholas Martin, 34, has been dressing his Mini up in Christmas lights since 2018, raising over £24,000 for good causes.
However this year Nicholas has taken a break, sharing that it has been a big year for his family who welcomed baby Jessica in September.
“In case you’re wondering why you’ve not seen the Festive Mini yet this year, it’s because I became a dad, so I’ve decided to take a break to spend as much time as I can with my daughter, Jessica,” Nicholas said.
“I decided halfway through the year I wouldn’t do the festive Mini so I could be around.
This Christmas is also the family’s first in their new home.
In 2018 Nicholas started what would become an annual tradition to dress his Mini up to “bring little moments of joy to people’s lives”.
At the beginning of the annual tradition, Nicholas drove his car around public spaces and near shops but did not do any street visits – until he was invited to the home of then-11-year-old Marcus Rooks, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic condition that causes degeneration of muscles.
The visit touched Nicholas who said: “When I saw his face light up, it hit me with so many emotions.”
The annual tradition quickly became a fundraiser which saw donations go to The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Trust and Duchenne UK – two charities close to Nicholas’ heart as his mum lives with MS.
For £20 Nicholas would take his festive Mini up to doorsteps in Berkshire, with the display getting bigger and better each year.
“I was out every single night for about three hours visiting five, six, seven, different streets up to Christmas Eve,” he said.
Nicholas rose £6000 and £8000 in 2020 and 2021, respectively and in 2022 Nicholas helped raise a further £8000.
Mini UK later supported the fundraiser through the loan of one of their electric cars.
“It was a bit of fun which turned into a fundraiser all for a good cause.”
Speaking of his family’s reaction, he added: “My wife is really proud of what I do and the money raised and the fact I have brought so much joy and happiness to people in Bracknell and around the country.”
Originally Nicholas started by putting just 500 lights on the car, which quickly grew in following years.
“I had to buy all the lights from Tesco one year as I did 2,000 coloured lights – so I bought the entire shelf.
“When Mini got involved I wanted to go bigger and better and Twinkley did app control Christmas lights.”
Partnering with Twinkley saw the car wrapped with 2,000 LEDs before the car was 3D mapped.
“It took two weeks to fit all the lights,” he added.
Nicholas has applauded others who have also decorated their cars to spread joy but has warned of the legality of it after being pulled over by police.
“You can’t actually drive on the main road with the lights on – I have been cautioned for that by Thames Valley Police.”
Looking forward to next Christmas, Nicholas teased: “I might be coming back next year.
“I would love to thank everyone who has supported the project over the last five years and have wanted to see the Mini coming back every year – it has only happened because of them.”