Great Britain

It's a wonderful Christmas at Angela's

A CLASSIC Christmas film has inspired a County Durham woman's festive decorations this year as she hopes to raise awareness about mental health issues.

Angela Gill, from Coxhoe, near Durham, chooses a different theme every year for her Christmas decorations.

But after struggling with her mental health, the photographer, who is also a carer for her 81-year-old mother, decided to use the occasion this year to do something to raise awareness of the issue.

Inspired by Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, she has taken her home back to the 1940s, when the film was made.

See some of Angela's previous Christmas decorations

She said: "The film is all about mental health. He gets into debt and he runs away and tries to kill himself because of the money he has to pay.

"Then the community gets together and raises money so he can buy presents for Christmas.

"I've always done the decorations but this year I want to something a bit different because there's been a lot of tragedy for people around the village this year. People need something."

The Northern Echo:

The 45-year-old is encouraging other people to get in the Christmas spirit with their decorations and wants to start a competition next year to raise money for mental health charities.

She has spent hours making garlands and streamers, redecorating old baubles and finding vintage decorations similar to the ones which would have adorned homes in the 1940s.

She said: "It's absolutely beautiful. It took a while to do everything but now it's all done I'm really happy with it. Mum loves it to. She was involved in choosing what she wanted and she's over the moon.

"Doing crafts can really help people and help people take their mind of things. And it can add a bit of magic to Christmas."

She added: "I want to do the competition next year to raise money for a mental health but I thought I could start by raising awareness this year.

"Hopefully it could bring the community together as well.

"There's a lack of support in the North-East. I know some other people who are struggling. I've seen friends who have lost loved ones to suicide. It's absolutely awful. Sometimes people are going for help and they are being let down and they haven't had the support.

"Christmas can be difficult for people if they've lost someone or if you have money worries."