Houghton Regis dad’s anger over ‘pikey’ abuse from neighbours

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A defiant dad is refusing to take down the Christmas lights still hanging outside his home and has vowed to add more – despite being branded a “pikey”.

Kevin Franklin, who has ten children, got a friend to put up the huge festive display after he suffered a stroke in November.

He stopped turning them on in January, but said they helped calm his autistic son Bradley, 15. He plans to switch them back on for Autism Awareness Month in April.

But some neighbours in Manor Park, Houghton Regis, have taken a dim view and called the lights “grotesque”, “tacky” and “an eyesore”.

One poison pen writer has now sent an anonymous letter addressed to “the pikeys that live at number 80”.

It read: “I am fed up of seeing your grotesque, tacky, council house Christmas lights. It is March for goodness sake. Your house leaves this lovely community looking a disgrace. It looks like a state. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

“I don’t want to keep driving past this eyesore, every time I do my kids scream.

“I know you live in a council house but there’s no need to make it look like one. Yours sincerely. A very disgruntled citizen.”

Kevin, 53, who lives with wife Michele, 46, who cares for Bradley full-time, said the letter had upset him but said he planned to put up more lights, rather than take them down.

He added: “I was shocked and quite upset when I got the letter. But they’re not coming down. They’re not doing anybody any harm.

“I don’t switch them on until it comes nearer Christmas. Apart from that they’re going on in April which is Autism Awareness Month, because I have a 15-year-old autistic son.

“I’ve had neighbours who have said they will join in and also donate to autism charities.

“I think the person who sent the letter comes from the posh side of the street. Our side is all council houses while the other side is where the houses have been bought.

“They think they’re better than us, but the only difference between us and them is that they buy their pile of bricks and we rent ours. It’s still my house and I’m proud of it.

“We keep our garden nice and tidy but we like the lights. The principle is nobody tells me what to do in my house.

“We’re going to make sure the house is covered and really give them something to whine about.”

Kevin, who used to run a pub but is now unemployed, said he has a garage full of more lights which he is now planning to put up next week.