HOUSEHOLDERS are being urged to add a festive touch of colour to their homes by their local council next year.

The growing tradition of bedecking houses with decorative Christmas lights has spawned an official contest, to be run by Hetton Town Council, on Wearside.

Councillor John Blackburn put forward the proposal after noticing the efforts of a number of residents in Hetton-le-Hole and neighbouring East Rainton and Easington Lane, which are all served by the council, to put on a seasonal display at their homes this year.

The council has agreed to offer prizes, possibly cash awards, for the best displays during the run-up to Christmas next year.