THERE may be 44 days left to go, but for one Oxford family Christmas has already started.

Last night, the lights were switched on at Pete and Carol Bonney’s home in Wood Farm – believed to be one of the first houses in Oxfordshire lit up this Christmas.

For the past eight Christmases, they have lit up their home in Nuffield Road to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people in the city.

Mr Bonney said: “I was homeless myself many years ago back in the ’60s. About 10 years ago a homeless man came to me for help, I directed him to a shelter and they said they couldn’t give him anything, so I thought, ‘Right, I’ll do it myself’.”

Visitors are urged to give food, blankets, scarves and hats, but not cash.

The couple spend every Christmas Day handing out clothes and serving lunch to the city’s homeless population.