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Community spirit shining bright in Cooroy


For Shane and Lorna O’Donnell from Cooroy Termite & Pest Control, installing the Christmas lights on Cooroy’s famous clock tower is a way of giving back to the community.

“We love living and working in Cooroy,” says Lorna. “And we’re so grateful for all the support we’ve received over the years.”

The O’Donnells bought Cooroy Pest Control 11 years ago and since then it has grown steadily from a single vehicle operation to a company with five vehicles on the road and nine staff (many of whom live locally). It was 10 years ago that the company volunteered to help decorate the Cooroy roundabout and they have basically been doing the clock tower ever since.

“You know Christmas is around the corner when you see Shane up a ladder decorating the clock tower,” says Lorna. One incident which they still laugh about today happened when Shane’s youngest daughter, Hannah, was working at the Cooroy Hotel. In the middle of her shift one of the patrons asked if that was her dad who was decorating the clock tower. When Hannah said that it was, the patron replied casually, “Well, he’s just fallen off his ladder!”

Luckily, Shane had landed in bushes so there was no permanent damage. These days he does admit to exercising a bit more caution so as not to provide the guys in the pub with any more entertainment!

Taking the odd spill is something Shane is familiar with from his life before moving to Australia. Although born in Perth, he grew up in Zimbabwe where one of his first jobs was photographing and filming whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River. He met Lorna in Victoria Falls and they ran their own business there for many years before the economy started to deteriorate. With the Zim dollar plummeting faster than a bungee jumper off Vic Falls bridge, they decided it was time to move and Australia was the obvious destination. Sydney was where they started but it wasn’t long before they were craving the wide-open spaces which they were used to. Cooroy seemed like the perfect place. They moved on to acreage near Lake Macdonald and they haven’t looked back since.

In addition to the Christmas lights, Cooroy Termite & Pest Control try to help the community in other areas as well. They have installed termite protection systems around the Memorial Hall and the Cooroy Scout Hall which they maintain on a pro bono basis.

And then of course, there is the work that goes into making that clock tower sparkle so beautifully. In recent years, the lighting display has grown more elaborate and impressive, although Shane says he has now devised a system that makes the whole process a lot easier. You could say, as easy as falling off a ladder!


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