Guinness World Records is saddened to learn of the death of Sylvia Pope aka “Nana Baubles”, owner of the world’s largest collection of Christmas bauble ornaments.
Sylvia, from Swansea, Wales, passed away on Saturday 15 April, aged 80.
“Her great-grandchildren were so impressed she was the record holder and they all had a picture of her with the certificate to show their friends,” said Sylvia’s daughter, Karen.
“She was well loved and will be greatly missed. Christmas will never be the same again.”
Sylvia’s record-breaking collection was assembled over many years. It contained 1760 baubles when it was officially counted in 2021.
Each bauble is different; they come from all over the world in a variety of shapes, materials, colours and themes.
Every December, the extraordinary collection was beautifully displayed throughout Sylvia’s house, with baubles hanging from every inch of the ceiling.
When we spoke to Sylvia in 2021, she revealed the reason why she began her collection: “It was back in 1999. My son, who lived in Brighton, invited us to spend New Year with him. We went to a friend's house for a drink and, when I walked in, they had the baubles on the ceiling. It was fantastic.
“I thought, 'oh my god, this is wonderful'. They were from all over the world. And then I thought, 'I’m going to try this.'"
Sylvia began buying big boxes of baubles, and as her collection grew, other people started gifting her more of them.
Some are unique collectable pieces, and some – like the little red bauble gifted to her by her great-grandson – hold a special sentimental value.
The most valuable bauble in Sylvia’s collection is a special edition one made for the Queen’s Golden Anniversary.
Sylvia’s love for Christmas stemmed from her childhood. “Christmas was always a family affair,” she told us.
Although they couldn’t afford much, the day was always a special occasion.
On Christmas morning, Sylvia would usually wake up to find an orange and some nuts inside her stocking, before going downstairs to open her present.
And even though Sylvia’s birthday fell on Boxing Day, meaning she received just one present for Christmas and her birthday combined, Sylvia was always happy.
"We weren’t very well off; we didn’t have a lot,” she said. “And that is why today I will do what I can and afford what I can afford to have a good Christmas for the children."
Each year, surrounded by the spectacle of her festive baubles, Sylvia always tried her best to make Christmas a special event for her family.
"I think it’s a children’s time. I think Christmas is a wonderful time to excite the children, so I do believe you should do the best you can for them." – Nana Baubles
Our thoughts are with all of Sylvia’s loved ones during this time.