Have a ball of a time for charity


A little party never killed nobody.

Au contraire, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s annual Rescue Ball raises money to help save lives, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This year’s Great Gatsby-themed ball has been brought forward from September to Friday 3 May.

Now in its 27th year, the ball was traditionally held in winter until the Pasha Bulker storm of 2007, when it got postponed as the region recovered from the damage.

Its new position on the social calendar aligns it with the service’s other events across Northern NSW.

The black-tie ball remains one of the largest in Australia, drawing a crowd of up to 1,400 people who dig deep to support the community-owned and supported aeromedical service, which operates locally from Belmont.

Drawing inspiration each year from cultural and international themes, historic and futuristic timelines, as well as pop culture and the arts, this year (as always) revellers can expect night of high-class, food, music and entertainment at Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

This year’s ball will be line pilot Mark Overton’s first, having joined the service in September last year after a stint with the WA Police Air Wing.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he told Newcastle Weekly.
“As a pilot, I see firsthand the impact of the work we do, so it’s great to see the level of support the Rescue Ball receives from our community.
“I get to operate within a fantastic team environment with access to the best modern equipment and I am afford the opportunity to help people.”

Mark’s most memorable rescue mission to date involved a 14-month old girl.

“I watched the medical team revive her after she was recovered from a backyard pool,” he said.
“I have an eight-month-old daughter myself, so that really hit home for me. That was a good day.”

It costs about $40 million a year to keep the service’s helicopters and crews ready to respond to rescues just like these.

About $12 million is raised through sponsorships, volunteers, support group activities, partnerships and events like the Rescue Ball, while the remainder is funded through contracts with NSW Health and NSW Ambulance.

Tickets to the 2019 Hunter Rescue Ball are on sale now. Go to rescuehelicopter.com.au/events and select ‘Hunter’ from the drop-down menu.

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