The life-saving work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, in the Bundaberg and Wide Bay regions will take to new heights next month, when their new $6M aeromedical base and patient transport facility becomes fully operational.
Joining the groundswell of support for the new shared premises, at Bundaberg Airport, is the local Masonic family, which generously provided a $50,000 donation. A combination of five local Freemason Lodges, and local Chapters within the Order of the Eastern Star, Rose Croix, Royal Arch and Grand Priory raised $5,000. This was matched by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, before a $40,000 top-up was provided through their Grassroots Grants Program.
The funds will go towards the fit-out of a specialised meeting room, which will be used for the co-ordination of services, professional development and community engagement.
Sir Augustus Lodge Freemason Darryl Dewar said the Masonic family was so very proud to support this regional initiative, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket.
“This new base will empower the RFDS and RACQ Lifeflight Rescue to meet the demand for its services long into the future and we are proud to make our mark in this way,” Darryl said.
Each year, over 3,500 patients in the region access the services of the RFDS or Lifeflight and this number is expected to significantly increase, with the planned expansion of Bundaberg Hospital.
“Bundaberg’s RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter completed hundreds of critical missions in 2019, valued at approximately $4 million, but at no cost to patients,” Bundaberg Base Lead, Daniel Leggat, said.
“This new base means we can enhance response times, aircraft engineering and crew facilities. Generous donations, like this one, will significantly help us continue to service the Wide Bay and beyond.”
Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer, Meredith Staib said the support of community groups was integral to the successful completion of the new Bundaberg aeromedical base.
“We were tasked alongside our colleagues LifeFlight, with raising $3 million to make this project a reality, and incredibly kind gestures such as this from the local Masonic family and Hand Heart Pocket obviously go a long way towards achieving that goal.
“We are extremely grateful for their support and what it means to the people of regional and remote Queensland.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing sustainable support to charitable organisations that have limited access to other avenues of funding has been its core purpose.
“Ensuring regional communities have access to both emergency and primary health care aligns with our values around alleviating suffering and misfortune,” Gary said.
“We are appreciative of the Wide Bay Freemasons for bringing this important regional initiative to our attention so that a bigger difference could be made at a grassroots level,” he said.
Photo: Members of the Wide Bay Masonic Family, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, handed over a cheque for $50,000 to representatives of the RFDS and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue.