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Maidenwell fundraiser a ripping success

The success of the inaugural Maidenwell LifeFlight Fundraising weekend has organisers enthused to make it an annual event.

The success of the inaugural Maidenwell LifeFlight Fundraising weekend has organisers enthused to make it an annual event.

Around 300 people flocked to the small country town in the South Burnett region for a dinner and two-day festival which raised around $14,000 for LifeFlight, the Queensland aeromedical charity which last year airlifted almost 300 people from the region.

Event organiser and South Burnett Councillor, Gavin ‘Spud’ Jones, said the weekend was such an outstanding success, he would like to see it become an annual event.

Over 160 people attended the dinner on Saturday night and another 150 attended the two-day wood chopping and post ripping competition at the Maidenwell Sports Ground with some of Australia’s best competitors attending, including Kilcoy’s own Nick Fredriksen who is Australia's only one-arm competitive wood chopper.

Nick was airlifted by RACQ LifeFlight Rescue more than 20 years ago after being involved in a serious farm accident which resulted in his left arm being amputated.

He's since gone on to achieve international fame and success, recently travelling to the UK to compete in the Royal Welsh Show after videos of his one-arm wood chopping achievements went viral. Nick needed a second aeromedical lift in 2003 after he had another accident, crashing through glass louvres.

With each LifeFlight airlift costing around $12,000 he has set himself a fundraising target this year of $24,000.

“It was great to receive such fantastic and enthusiastic local support for LifeFlight and it was terrific to see over 30 wood chop and chainsaw racing competitors come to Maidenwell for competition,” said Nick.

“LifeFlight is a critical and necessary lifesaving service for all of Queensland, and especially in the South Burnett region. While I have used them twice, I know many other people in the area who have also had their life saved by the RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter crews.”

LifeFlight Communications and Public Relations Manager and former ABC-TV News presenter Ian Eckersley travelled from Brisbane for the event and told supporters how the funds raised from the weekend would help to save more lives.

Cr Jones said an auction at the Saturday night dinner attracted a lot of donated items including sporting memorabilia with spirited bidding ensuring the fundraising night was off to a great start.

“We’ve had so much community support for this event and local business got right behind it with our major sponsor Stanwell Corporation giving us a real boost,” said Cr Jones.

“There were so many people here who had a LifeFlight story to tell, whether they had personally been airlifted like Nick Fredriksen or had a family member or friend who had been rescued at some stage over the last 36 years.

“We know what a great cause it is and it’s just astounding to know that there were 293 people airlifted from the South Burnett region last financial year so that’s why we’d like to get behind this and make it an annual event that will hopefully get bigger and better each year.”

LifeFlight Community Fundraising Manager Jodi Durkin thanked the Maidenwell community and the South Burnett region for getting right behind the first event.

“All of the proceeds from the weekend event will make such a difference and will have a direct lifesaving benefit over the busy summer period where our crews are ready to fly 24/7, every day of the year,” she said.

“Nick Fredriksen has been such a great supporter of LifeFlight this year and his enthusiasm and energy has been infectious around the South Burnett and has been a real boost for his fantastic fundraising work for LifeFlight. We’d love to see this become an annual event.”

2016-17 was a record year for LifeFlight for lifesaving missions with its aeromedical crews, community helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,342 missions throughout Queensland and around the world.

LifeFlight is a community-based charity that relies on donations from the public and community support to the LifeFlight Foundation.

To support the LifeFlight Foundation visit:
www.lifeflightfoundation.org.au