By Steve Cuff
CHRISTMAS may well be over, but the cheer was still rolling well into the new year for the kids at the Snowy Mountains Care and Early Learning Centre with “Postman John” presenting a cheque for $4008.50 from his annual Christmas lights fundraiser.
For the past 27 years John Mcloughlin has been decorating his house in Jindabyne with Christmas lights. Across the road is the childcare centre where the kids watch on with delight as John goes about his work from October until early December when the colourful extravaganza lights the sky.
The kids love John and his wife Doreen, who previously worked at the centre, and John for his many years delivering for Australia Post. He still works part time delivering mail and running around town on his little motorbike.
But each year when Christmas approaches, the town await in anticipation to see what magic is in store for the light presentation.
The child care centre kids with staff, Jackie Jackson, John Mcloghlin, Cameron McKid. All photos Steve Cuff.
John never disappoints, tipping into his own pocket every single year to upgrade his light show. He attracts residents and visitors to the lights where if they want, they can donate. On most occasions he even has a beverage on offer. The 3D sunglasses have been a huge hit to view the lights.
The 2019 lights were the first time John had raised over $4000 to which he was very excited about, up by $300 on last year.
“Everyone was very, very generous, it was amazing actually. When I got the final figure down at the bank, I felt so proud and so proud of the community for this generous donation, it’s absolutely fantastic,” said John.
John said there was more people through this year, even though some nights they were empty due to the smoke. “Christmas eve was the biggest night we’ve ever had, because of the Carols by Candlelight finishing as early as they did, it was a benefit to us. So, we got a good crowd out of that as well.”
This year he and wife Doreen celebrated their 50th anniversary in early December, with an extra gathering at their Bent Street home to acknowledge the occasion.
Doreen and John celebrate 50 years of marriage.
There is a passion for John to not only produce a special light show for everyone’s entertainment and joy, but to also help the community by way of his fundraising.
Director of the centre Jackie Jackson said it is very helpful. “Considering our grass area had basically gone, the money we get from the lights will go towards paying for our new grass and also a new watering system to maintain the grassed area.”
While they may be too young to understand what all the fuss is about for the cheque, the kids certainly do love looking at the lights each Christmas.
Jackie said they are always calling out to John, they love watching him. “And the flow on effect there is the parents take them over to see the lights, so it is lovely to have that connection.”
Friends with John.
John Mcloughlin, Cameron McKid from Banjo Paterson Inn and centre Director Jackie Jackson with the cheque.
Such has been the length of time the lights have been prominent, some local parents even remember back to their younger years stopping by to look at the lights as a kid.
Everyone chips in with their own contribution, Banjo Paterson Inn Licensee Cameron McKid said, “Over the Christmas period on a Friday night when we are dropping people home we drive by and show them the lights, and hopefully a few of the patrons chip in a bit of money as well.”
The Banjo Paterson Inn have also always been a strong supporter with donations.
While John is never pushy by any means promoting donations, he hopes that everyone who passes by can throw into the bucket and help the cause, which eventually returns to the community.
Already Postman John is planning his 2020 light exhibition, one which all of Jindabyne and visitors will again look forward to.
“If you walk around and see the looks on people’s faces, young and old, it would encourage you to keep going,” said John.
“I have already ordered lights for next year.”
Ho Ho Ho…..
Lights in the front garden.
Watch the 2019 lights turn on.