"This is a great town and it's no effort to give your time to help," were the words of John Gorton as he, with wife Christine, accepted the honour of being named Forbes' Senior Citizen of the Year.
The Australia Day Awards were presented at a gala dinner at Forbes Town Hall - and the couple were recognised for their "positive attitude, ongoing dedication and devotion" over many years in our community.
"They have been described as inspirational and passionate and dedicated, and have volunteers in an extensive amount of capacities including CanAssist, JRV and St Laurence's just to name a few," the award citation read.
Rousing applause from those in attendance greeted the announcement of the winners, John said he and Chris were "thankful and a bit embarrassed" to receive the award.
"This is a great town and it's no effort to give your time to help no matter how small," he said.
John and Christine came to Forbes to visit John's sister as honeymooners more than 48 years ago - and promptly decided to leave Sydney and make this their home. Decades on, they could not be happier with their decision.
The Gortons immediately invested themselves in the community and as they raised their three children - Bede, Joseph and Amie - they became involved in their activities from preschool through schools, Scouts and Guides.
These days, the couple say they live for CanAssist, with personal experience of the impacts of cancer, and John gives many hours of his time as a volunteer driver of the community bus.
They regularly serve through St Vincent de Paul and the Forbes Christian Bookshop; John's also a member of the Knights of the Southern Cross.
"Nothing's a drag, you just do," Chris says matter-of-factly,
"It's the community spirit that draws you in."
Both say they've been amply rewarded in friendship - and were stunned by the nomination for Australia Day awards.
"It's so rewarding," John says.
"It's an easy town to live in - a great place to live."
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