Mandurah community hero gets Christmas lights makeover from Synergy

Spreading Christmas cheer: Ron Withnell and his wife Johanna enjoying their Synergy Christmas lights. Photo: Supplied.
Spreading Christmas cheer: Ron Withnell and his wife Johanna enjoying their Synergy Christmas lights. Photo: Supplied.

Halls Head good Samaritan Ron Withnell is having some of his kindness repaid as one of the winners of the Synergy Nominate Your Neighbour campaign.

The initiative invites West Australians to put forward somebody who they believe has gone the extra mile in looking out for those around them.

Ron and the other two winners (both from Perth) will have their power bills paid for the next three months; and Synergy's elves decorated their homes earlier this week, in the lead up to the launch of the Synergy Xmas Lights Trail on December 1.

Ron was nominated as a community hero due to his selfless involvement with charity and community groups, including Red Cross and Peel Connect.

His nominee said Ron works tirelessly to fundraise and support people in need, particularly those experiencing homelessness; and is never too busy to help out a neighbour, friend or stranger in need.

"He is motivated to help out simply because he genuinely cares about his community and other people."

Ron says it is not just him, there are a lot of people doing what they can for these important causes.

"If you care about your community and you care about people, then you do something about it," he said.

Ron also believes that Christmas lights help the whole community, creating atmosphere and something bright for everyone to enjoy.

He usually plays carols and has bubbles for the kids, along with the lights.

"It was very, very much a surprise [winning the Nominate Your Neighbour competition] - I was just putting up my Christmas lights when I got the call," Ron said.

"I usually do Christmas lights because it gives people something bright and nice to look at, it creates atmosphere and helps the whole community."

The initiative was launched in 2019 to support Lifeline WA and to give back to the community, while spreading the joy of the festive season.

Synergy marketing manager Kelley Yeats said the Nominate Your Neighbour initiative recognised people who spread cheer and kindness, during what had been a particularly challenging year.

"We know 2020 has been a difficult year for many and this is about recognising the extraordinary lengths that some community members have gone to in support of others," Ms Yeats said.

"It is incredible to hear all the stories of those who have gone that extra mile to bring happiness to those around them."

The Synergy Xmas Lights Trail connects Western Australians to Perth's best Christmas lights displays, while supporting Lifeline WA during their Lights for Lifeline powered by Synergy fundraising campaign.

For more information, visit xmaslightstrail.com.au.