CHRISTMAS came early for one Halstead family - and it was all in a good cause.

Gail and Jason Clark's house, on the corner of Head Street and Colchester Road, has been ablaze with festive decorations for almost two months.

The couple switched on their Christmas lights at the start of OCTOBER – almost three months ahead of the big day.

The outside of their home is lit up like an airport runway at night.

That's because they are raising money for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, based just down the road.

Jason said: “We’re not far away from the airbase at Earls Colne so we often see the helicopter overhead. They do some amazing work, and we are only too pleased to help such a fantastic cause.”

The air ambulance is urging more people to add some seasonal sparkle to fundraising for the charity.

As well as lighting up their homes, supporters are staging events ranging from Christmas fairs to carol concerts, and mulled wine evenings to mince pie mornings.

Spokesman Jon Rodriguez said: “Santa isn’t the only one who will be flying this Christmas and we are really grateful that people like Gail and Jason want to support their local air ambulance at this time of year.

“If you’d like to raise money please let us know, we would love to hear from you.

"Whatever your fundraising idea is, it won’t take much to give it a festive twist and help keep us flying!”

Specially-designed Christmas cards are available from the charity's online shop.

The air ambulance is also looking for help with seasonal collections. People who can spare some time to help can get in touch on 03452 417690.