Generosity lights up Forbes as festive tradition continues

In the past five years, CenWest Tours fundraiser Christmas lights tours have become a wonderful local tradition.

All proceeds from the night-time tours of town in the lead-up to Christmas each year are donated to CanAssist to help support local people through cancer treatment.

It's a cause very close to Mel and Anita Sinclair's hearts so even after 2020 completely upended their business, they kept the tradition alive.

Thanks to the generous support of the community, they were able to present a cheque for $1468.80 CanAssist.

"It's been getting bigger and better every year," Mel said.

"This is the first year we've added a second bus (to the tour) and Deidre Brown gave her time to help out."

And those who enjoyed the Christmas lights tour with their jolly host dug deep.

All proceeds from the tours are donated to the cause, they only ask that people contribute at least $5. Many people contribute much more.

"It was really, really good," Mel said. "One thing I can say about the people of Forbes is that they are great givers."

This year's Christmas lights displays were something special, too.

In addition to the new lights in Albion Park and Victoria Park there were some absolutely spectacular home displays.

"Forbes went all out this year," Mel said. "We normally get around the Christmas lights in an hour, this year the tour took an hour and a half, so hats off to everyone who put their lights up."

Being able to run the Christmas lights tours and help CanAssist was particularly important for the Sinclairs this year, even after what Mel described as a really, really tough year for their business.

The business has adapted - keeping their small buses running and introducing a limousine service that is proving popular - but it's hard to make plans, to book tours and special trips.

John Schrader expressed CanAssist's thanks.

"It's very much appreciated, particularly in this current environment when we haven't been able to do our usual fundraising," he said. "It's fantastic."

While COVID-19 restrictions have made things difficult, CanAssist does have the support of generous donors and Mr Schrader reminded locals in need of financial assistance relating to cancer treatment to contact the local branch.