ACT News

Christmas lights world record attempt taking shape in Canberra

If untangling a single thread of tree lights packed away badly the year before has enough potential to ruin your pre-Christmas mood, imagine working with enough to stretch all the way to Cooma and still have plenty left over. 

That's the extraordinary task under way in Civic's Petrie Plaza right now as David Richards' world record Christmas lights attempt approaches completion.

Renowned for the dazzling Christmas light displays installed each year at his Forrest home, Mr Richards is this year masterminding a massive light display in Civic's Petrie Plaza that should break the Guinness world record for the largest LED light image display.

The display opens on November 28 and Mr Richards is once again raising money for SIDS and Kids.

Workers helping achieve his goal are using 22 tonnes of steel, 110 kilometres of string lighting – with an LED light every 10 centimetres, and 6.5 tonnes of LED lights. Construction has to be completed in a four-week period.

 "It's certainly been challenging given that this structure hasn't been built before," he said.

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"You could run the lights from Petrie Plaza to Cooma and still have enough to wrap around Cooma a couple of times," he said. 

The current Guinness record is held by an Uzbekistan energy plant with 1,012,840 lights.

A sleep-deprived Mr Richards said after he had conceived of the project in February he had not anticipated the "mountain of appropriate red tape" he would have to go through.

"It's been much larger than I anticipated," he said.

"I have no event management skills, but I've been learning them very quickly over the last six months." 

In the spirit of the occasion, a number of businesses have donated time and resources towards the project.

"We've had electricians working all day every day for about three weeks to put this thing up," he said.

"All of our equipment, the electrical, the cranes have been donated, they're basically constructing the whole thing for nothing."

SIDS and Kids chief executive Nathalie Maconachie said she was looking for 250 volunteers to collect donations and manage the expected lengthy queues.

She was expecting 200,000 to 500,000 visitors and was hoping to raise at least $200,000.

"Every gold coin that the community donates will come to SIDS and Kids for our service delivery," she said.

If Mr Richards is successful, Guinness World Records will certify the record on November 28.

"We're hoping the final effect will be amazing and that people put a dollar or two in the bucket to go to a very worthy cause," he said.

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