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CareFlight’s gala ball supporters donate $900,000 over nine years

RACQ CareFlight Rescue transformed Rumours International into an enchanting winter wonderland for its ninth annual Gala Ball in Toowoomba on Saturday night, raising an estimated $140,000 for the helicopter rescue service.

In the nine years since Toowoomba’s much-loved Gala Ball was first held, the event’s dedicated supporters and sponsors have raised more than $900,000, helping to fund lifesaving rescue missions across the South West region.

CareFlight Executive Fundraising Manager Leanne Angel said, “It’s incredible to see how readily the local community wants to give back to our lifesaving cause.”

“It was such a great atmosphere – the vibe was truly about everyone wanting to help CareFlight’s Toowoomba Base.

“We cannot thank the local community enough for its on-going support and contributions over the past nine years.”

Rumours International was filled to capacity with close to 600 revellers digging deep to raise vital funds for the local helicopter rescue service.

Guests dined on a delicious three course dinner, while bidding on unique auction items such as an outback holiday experience, one-of-a-kind sporting memorabilia, and a High Fidelity Training Manikin, which was purchased for the Toowoomba Base for $11,000.

Remarkably, guests also pulled together to raise the remaining funds needed for new crew sleeping quarters located at the Toowoomba Base as part of the Beds for our Base project.

“We were hoping to raise $20,000, but the overwhelming generosity received from guests on the night helped raised an incredible $37,000,” Ms Angel said.

CareFlight Chairman the Hon. Rob Borbidge AO spoke of CareFlight’s local service at the Gala.

“Our Toowoomba crew does an incredible job, so much so that the team recently reached a milestone of 1,200 flying hours at the end of April,” Mr Borbidge said.

“This is a record-breaking result and puts Toowoomba ahead, by far as CareFlight’s busiest base.

“The fact that we can offer this lifesaving service to so many regional communities, such as here in the South West, is a testament to those who support us.”

This year’s Gala was a fantastic evening with Australian actor and entertainer Tom Burlinson performing classic Frank Sinatra hits with his eight-piece band.

Ms Angel said you could hear a pin drop as former CareFlight patient and author Alice Greenup shared her incredible story of survival – 12 years after she was urgently airlifted from a property near Kingaroy following a horrific horse mustering accident.

Two copies of her 2013 memoir titled Educating Alice saw enthusiastic bidding amongst guests, raising an additional $5,000 for CareFlight.

All funds raised from the event will go directly to CareFlight’s local service, helping to keep the Toowoomba based helicopter flying in the South West region.