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1 June, 2021

Make an extraordinary difference and give where you live

Ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference at home and help keep our region’s rescue helicopter up in the air and saving lives.

The 2021 RACQ CQ Rescue Annual Appeal kicks off today on June 1 with a fundraising target of $200,000 to help ensure the service can continue to fly to the rescue of hundreds of people across the region every year.

The service has already this year recorded a 21 percent increase in tasking compared to 2020 and has completed more than 270 missions in the first five months of the year.

This includes more than 26 flights to Townsville including two trips north in just one day on Thursday, May 27.

The annual appeal is the major fundraiser for the Mackay-based rescue helicopter service which, in 2021, celebrates 25 years of saving lives across Central Queensland and the impressive milestone of 10,000 missions.

RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Ian Rowan said with mission numbers increasing every year, there was never a greater need for the life-saving service in the region or a better reason to support it.

It costs about $10.5 million annually to keep the rescue service in the sky saving lives 24/7, 365 days a year, he said, and a large proportion of this money came from community donations, payroll deductions and sponsorship which was why the annual appeal was so important.

“From our base here in Mackay we cover an area four times the size of Tasmania with one primary and one reserve helicopter,” he said.

“It’s a huge job but this is a not-for-profit service which is absolutely critical to the sick and injured within our community. When every second counts, where would they be without RACQ CQ Rescue?” Mr Rowan said one of the huge benefits of donating to a local, lifesaving charity like RACQ CQ Rescue was that the money stayed right here in this region.

“When people give where they live, we all benefit because your money stays right here and is directly helping our service save lives in Central and North Queensland.”

RACQ CQ Rescue pilots and air crewman are also strongly urging people to show their support for the life-saving work conducted by the crew every day and to donate generously to this year’s Annual Appeal.

“Anyone who donates becomes a hero to this organisation - anything we do or any time we fly has the potential to be lifesaving,” RACQ CQ Rescue pilot Owen Maitland said.

“Donations are what keeps us flying and you never know when you’re going to need us,” pilot Doug White said.

“The next life we help save might be yours or someone that you love.”

“Times are tough and anyone who puts their hand in their pocket are the actual heroes behind the scenes as they are the reason we are actually in the air and able to help save so many people,” RACQ CQ Rescue rescue crewman Ben McCauley said.

Donations can be made online at or by phoning 4998 5232.

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