Forbes may see a lot more of Angus Graham’s big red bus in the next couple of years, after the 1979 Leyland double-decker people mover rolled through town this week.
Angus and his team of travellers stopped off at Forbes’ Vandenberg Hotel on Wednesday night, the second last stop on their nine day trip across the country, from Perth to Sydney.
After visiting Moss Vale on Thursday night the bus was due to arrive in the city yesterday, having achieved their aim of raising $10,000 for The Shepherd Centre.
The idea to drive across Australia in aid of The Shepherd Centre came about when Angus’ youngest son Angus Junior was diagnosed with profound deafness in both ears.
The Sydney based centre is a not for profit organisation which provides early intervention services for children like Angus Jnr, to help them listen, learn and speak.
Angus said the diagnosis made his seven-month-old son eligible for bilateral cochlear implants, an operation which has changed his life.
“Since the operation he’s been a different baby,” the father of two said on Thursday morning, before boarding the bus for the next leg of their journey.
“When he had [the implants] turned on for the first time he immediately looked up at us and he started moving his mouth.
“He’s a lot more vocal now because he knows he can make sounds. Profoundly deaf kids don’t have that ability because they haven’t heard anything before.”
It is hoped the Shepherd Centre’s early intervention services will mean Angus Jnr can attend mainstream schools by the time he is five or six.
Named ‘Cheers Big Ears’ because of his oldest son’s name for Angus Jr’s implants, the fundraiser has gone so well the crew had already raised $12,500 before arriving in Forbes.
Angus now plans to convert the bus into an upmarket coffee bar, which will be available for functions.
He has already discussed the idea with local business owner Ian ‘Bart’ Bartholomaeus, of Midpro Engineering, and hopes to bring the big red bus back to Forbes for VanFest in December.