News -

Double transformation for new RACQ LifeFlight hangar

First, it was a too-small and out-of-date base for the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter aeromedical team, then it was recently transformed into a state-of-the-art helicopter facility. Now the new RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter hangar at the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre is being transformed again - into a glamorous venue for the "Behind the Hangar Doors" Ball.

From chopper shed to grand ballroom, the change is underway. Hundreds of chairs are being brought in, tables are being laid, glasses are getting polished and a fantastic feast is being prepared for the sell-out crowd attending the ball on Saturday night (Sept 1st), in support of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters.

"This is going to be the most unique formal event on the south-west's social calendar, dancing and dining in a behind-the-scenes location few ever get to see.  All that, plus the knowledge that all money raised at the event will contribute to covering the operational costs of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter's life-saving missions, " said LifeFlight Foundation spokesperson, Suzie Byrnes.

There will be 450 guests, joined by at least 4 past patients of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter service, sitting at 45 tables, drinking from over 1000 glasses, competing for more than 100 prizes, with 30 volunteers helping things run smoothly, as diners use 2 250  pieces of cutlery to eat from over 1 800 plates, enjoying a 3 course meal prepared by Preston Peak Winery Executive Chef Rick Osborne.

It's all going on behind the two impressive 1 tonne hangar doors of the new facility.

42 tonnes of structural steel, in excess of 800m3 of concrete, 30 tonnes of concrete reinforcement and over 7 000 man hours have gone into the construction of the modern Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre, which was completed and delivered 3 weeks ahead of schedule.

Hutchinson Builders are proud to be able to boast another important figure.

"90% of the subcontractors and labour for the project were sourced from the local Toowoomba region," said Team Leader Shaun Spry. "Those not sourced locally were only needed due to the requirement for specialty equipment."

Hutchinson Builders has a long association with RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters.  In 2006 it was part of the "Dirty Dozen", originally a combination of 12 local businesses which agreed to donate $25 000 each a year to get the LifeFlight rescue service up and running in the south-west region.

"This was due to the unfortunate high demand for the service. To date, Hutchinson Builders is continuing that pledge and we are pleased to be able to construct this new operations base," said Mr Spry.

The base was made possible by the generosity of philanthropist Clive Berghofer, who donated over $2 million, matching Federal Government funding awarded to LifeFlight under the Building Better Regions Fund.

Mr Berghofer and Federal Member for Groom Hon Dr John McVeigh MP, Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government will conduct the official duties to mark the opening of the new centre and the start of the evening's festivities.

Those festivities include a mysterious performance that is predicted to challenge even the aerial wonders of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters.

"It's a surprise for our guests, the people who support us and who are doing so much on the night to raise funds. We want them to be surprised. We can't give away all our secrets!", laughs Ms Byrnes.