More than 500 guests dressed to impress at RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s eighth annual Gala Ball on Saturday night, while helping to raise an incredible $140,000 for the helicopter rescue service.
The magnificent Empire Theatre set the stage for Toowoomba’s night of nights, which saw revellers dig deep to raise the impressive figure.
RACQ CareFlight’s South West Relationship Manager Sarah Delahunty said the funds raised came from ticket sales, sponsorship donations, live and silent auction items, the diamond raffle, and donations on the night.
“The generosity received from the Toowoomba community has been overwhelming and is testament to how necessary and valued RACQ CareFlight Rescue is to rural and regional communities in the South West,” Ms Delahunty said.
“On behalf of CareFlight, I wish to thank all the attendees and sponsors for their support.”
The ETS CareFlight South West Gala Ball was attended by CareFlight Chairman and former Queensland Premier the Hon. Rob Borbidge A.O. and VIP guests including Hon. Jim Elder, Hon. Dr John McVeigh, as well as Councillors George Moore, Carol Taylor, Mike Williams and Geoff McDonald.
Regional investors also joined the festivities, including well-known South West businessman Clive Berghofer, who has donated a million dollars to the helicopter service in 10 years.
Ms Delahunty described the evening as a glamorous affair.
“Everyone was dressed in elegant black tie attire to mark the special occasion; ladies wore fabulous frocks and gents donned sharp suits,” she said.
“Some guests even took inspiration from the belle burlesque theme by accessorising their outfits with feather boas, fascinators and corsets.”
There was no shortage of fun and entertainment – a theatrical burlesque performance wowed the crowd and local band Andrew Kucks and Friends enticed guests onto the dance floor.
Guests dined on a sumptuous three-course feast, while bidding on live auction items such as a seven-night getaway to Phuket and the Ultimate CareFlight Experience package.
A $10,000 diamond necklace, donated by Bruce Robinson Diamonds, was also raffled off.
CareFlight Director Stewart Morland delivered a touching special presentation – honouring one of CareFlight’s own – to Peter ‘Spurge’ Spurgin, who came to CareFlight as a helicopter pilot in 1986.
Mr Morland spoke of Mr Spurgin’s impressive 28-year tenure at the not-for-profit organisation and how he continued to create benchmark safety regulations within CareFlight that are used throughout the fleet and beyond.
“You are such a wonderful, inspiring man who has dedicated and given so much to CareFlight and more importantly the community and every patient you have been part of saving,” Mr Morland said.
In honour of Mr Spurgin’s ongoing service and commitment to the organisation, Mr Morland announced the first Bell 412 helicopter brought into service at CareFlight will be known as Peter ‘Spurge’ Spurgin.
“We can’t think of a greater honour, to CareFlight, than to have your name etched on one of our helicopters as she still goes about the business – your business – of saving lives and serving the community,” he said in his tribute to Mr Spurgin.
All proceeds raised from the event will go directly to RACQ CareFlight Rescue, helping to keep the Toowoomba-based helicopter flying in the community.
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