Chris Thairs has always liked Christmas – and in 2013, he decided to bring a bit more festive cheer to Coulsdon.
He said: “I was having a chat with my wife one day and she put a little seed in. I’ve always been interested in Christmas festivals – it’s a nice time of year to have that atmosphere.”
That “seed” became Yulefest, an annual event with market stalls, a funfair, Santa’s grotto, and a live music stage in Couldson town centre.
For his hard work bringing the Christmas spirit Coulsdon, Mr Thairs has been nominated as a Croydon community champion.
He said: “Before the first Yulefest in 2013 we didn’t really have anything in Couldson. The lights went on, and that was about it.
“The live stage, with school choirs and local bands, is a nice little place for entertainment for the community as opposed to just putting on the average funfairs. It gives it more of a focal point.”
Mr Thairs, 30, is Croydon born and bred. After growing up in Shirley, he moved to Coulsdon eight years ago with his wife, Rachel.
It was not long after that he had functional neurological disorder diagnosed, a little-understood condition which can affect his mobility and speech.
He said: “If you take my head as a computer, the actual hard drive is fine, but all the software on that is all over the place with viruses and stuff.
“I have days when I can’t leave the house.”
Throwing himself into his work on Yulefest, as well as his day job as a web designer, provides Mr Thairs some welcome distraction.
He said: “The moment I relax, that’s when the condition is worse. All the time I’m occupied it’s still bad, but not as bad.”
Friend Richard Thurban, who nominated Mr Thairs as a Croydon Champion, said: “His condition can leave him unable to do most of what an average person could do, yet he still continues to bring the festival to the community of Coulsdon. In my eyes, a true Croydon Champion.”
Yulefest 2015 takes place on Saturday, December 5, in Coulsdon town centre. Sponsorship is still needed for this year's festival - anyone wishing to donate should email Chris Thairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.