Press Release | 03 Dec 2020

Children’s festive drawings ‘light up’ the UK in giant 5G light display

Vodafone creates a new twist on traditional Christmas lights to help keep the UK connecting this December.

  • Vodafone is calling on children across the UK to create their own special Christmas card designs to be turned into a super-sized 23 x 16 metre ‘Light Up’ display for all to see.
  • Creating the brightest Christmas card in Britain, the display will recreate each child’s design in lights, with an image sent back to them as a digital e-card to be shared with friends, family and loved ones.
  • The light display, made from 1600 LED bulbs and powered by 5G, will be live streamed every night between 5pm and 9pm so families across the UK can see their child’s design up in lights.
  • For every card submitted via #ConnectTheMagic, Vodafone will donate £1 to Barnardo’s, raising vital funds for the charity*.
  • To provide inspiration to young artists, Vodafone is offering a special online festive art class with renowned children’s illustrator, Rob Biddulph.

3 December 2020: With many traditional Christmas lights, fayres and markets cancelled this year, Vodafone has created a new twist on a Christmas classic – a 5G-powered light display, bringing to life Christmas drawings from children across the UK. Vodafone will donate £1 to charity Barnardo’s* for every card designed.

It’s easy to get involved, just create your festive design, take a picture on your phone and share on social media using #ConnectTheMagic. The images will then be sent back via the same social media platform you used to submit your illustration, via the comment or original tweet.

The huge 23 x 16 metre light display, which is made from 1600 bulbs and taller than the famous letters of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, has been installed on the side of Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol.


The designs will be live streamed every evening in December between 5pm and 9pm, and can be watched live via the Vodafone hub. Participants will automatically receive digital images of their creations up in lights to be used as Christmas e-cards, no stamps required.

To help young artists get started with their creations, Rob Biddulph, creator of the hit lockdown art class for kids ‘Draw with Rob’, will be hosting a free Christmas card class on his Instagram and YouTube channels on Sunday 6 December. Rob selected the first card to go up in lights which was drawn by Rory, aged 5.

Nick Jeffery, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone UK said: “Keeping everyone connected has been our number one focus this year, and we want to do everything we can to keep people connected to the magic of Christmas, as well as to each other. We will give children the opportunity to see their Christmas cards up in lights, as well as to share them electronically with their friends and family.

“We want as many children as possible to help us ‘Light Up’ Britain while raising vital funds for Barnardo’s.”

Rob Biddulph said: “It’s such a great time of year for kids to show their creativity and what better way than on a huge wall of lights! I really enjoyed picking the first card to appear; Rory’s snowman was so charming, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the nation submits. For those who want a little hand or just some drawing fun, come along to my free Instagram art class – we’ll draw Christmas like never before.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: “This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone, and especially for the vulnerable children and young people Barnardo’s supports. Many children and families across the UK risk missing out on the joy of the festive season, so we’re pleased that Vodafone is bringing so much light to the nation.

“With their help, and yours, we can help raise vital funds to keep supporting vulnerable children through the COVID crisis and as long as they need us.”

As charity partner of Barnardo’s, Vodafone also supported its Kidsmas Live Concert on Tuesday 1 December, helping to raise vital funds to support children and young people across the UK. It has also reopened its Great British Tech Appeal, calling on the UK to donate unwanted smartphones and tablets over the festive period and beyond to be redistributed to those in need.

Vodafone has also launched the gift of 30 days’ free data to 200,000 customers who don’t currently have unlimited data. The offer is redeemable on VeryMe via the MyVodafone app and must be activated by 21 December.

Follow the live feed and find out more about how Vodafone is helping keep the UK connected this Christmas.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

The Light Up light display is live from 3 December until 31 December with last submissions by 30 December. All cards go through a moderation phase before being put up in lights.

Submit your card via Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectTheMagic, via Instagram using the hashtag #ConnectTheMagic and tag @VodafoneUK and Facebook reply to Vodafone’s Light Up thread on @vodafoneUK and #ConnectTheMagic.

Vodafone and Barnardo’s

Vodafone is the official charity partner of Barnardo’s. Following on from its Great British Tech Appeal earlier this year, it is calling on the UK to donate unwanted smartphones and tablets over the festive period and beyond to be redistributed to those in need via the charity.

As well as donating £1 per card submitted as part of its Light Up campaign*, Vodafone also supported Barnardo’s Kidsmas Live Concert, helping to raise vital funds to support children and young people across the UK. Broadcast live on #GivingTuesday 2020 (1 December) and hosted by the charity’s President Natasha Kaplinsky, the event included special performances from singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum and poet Hussain Manawer.

* For every unique eligible image submitted by the 30 December, Vodafone UK Foundation will donate £1 to Barnardo’s, up to a maximum of £25,000 (excluding Gift Aid). Terms and conditions.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

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