BY TOBY PORTER
A retired cabbie has put up an epic display of Christmas lights on his block to raises money for a blood cancer charity for the 17th year running.
Gunaltay Mustafa, known as Mushy to his friends, does not know how much he has raised in the years since he started his ‘Kennington illuminations’ – but he wants to keep raising as much as he can.
But his efforts were dealt a blow this year when he had his ladder stolen as he began to put them up last month. Mushy, 66, and wife Donna 60, decided on raising the money after their son Alex’s life was saved by the Anthony Nolan charity when he was just five.
Alex, now 22, is much better and works as a teaching assistant in the nearby St Paul’s Church of England School in Penrose Street, although the removal of his spleen to cure the disease means his immune system is frail.
But his dad said: “I have not got a clue how much we raised over the years. Some people put Alex’s name down when they donate money, some don’t.
“My son loved them when he was little so we put them up to cheer him up when he was ill. Then we did it every year. Now it is a habit. It costs an arm and a leg – especially if someone nicks your ladder – but it is for a good cause.
I hope if people donate, they will mention Alex’s name, so we know how much this is contributing.
“I usually wait until the Christmas period is over then go to somewhere like B&Q where they will sell them at a discount and buy some more.
“I have three sheds out the back of our house, full of lights the rest of the year.
You have to put them somewhere. “Someone stole the ladder when I was in the back garden for about 10 minutes getting more lights. It was a good one as well. It probably cost £150. The police are looking at my CCTV footage.
But I had another one to finish the job. I may have to give it up as a loss. What can you do? When it’s gone, it’s gone.”