Tag Archives: charity

An emotional journey comes to an end

Nick Clarke met and spoke with many people during his epic 17-day fundraising journey around Queensland including Mayors and local dignitaries, but it was a two-year old girl from outback Queensland that made the biggest impact.

The Redland City Council Organisational Services General Manager landed back in the Redlands today, bringing to an end a fundraising flight that saw him visit 42 towns across Queensland to raise awareness and money for the charity Angel Flight.

“We have met several of the patients who have been assisted by Angel Flight during our journey, including a two-year old girl who has taken no less than 16 Angel Flight trips to Brisbane from her home in Thargomindah,” he said.

“These stories are very touching and show the real difference Angel Flight makes in the lives of remote Australians in overcoming the tyranny of distance when they find themselves in need of access to major hospital and treatment centres.”

Nick and co-pilot and University of Queensland professor, Mike Levy touched down at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island today (Wed 28 Aug) after visiting 42 cities and towns raising more than $30,000 for the cause.

“We received a fantastic welcome and people were very supportive,” he said.

“The journey was not only about raising funds, just as importantly we spread the word about the fantastic work Angel Flight does in these remote areas.”

Nick and Mike were welcomed home at a special event at Dunwich where Redland City Mayor Karen Williams presented Nick with a cheque for $1500 from Redland City Council.

While he has been involved in fundraising for Angel Flight for a number of years, Nick said his journey has strengthened his resolve.

“What really inspired me to take on this project was understanding that very sick men, women and children living in remote communities have to deal with travelling long distances to major centres and when you’re not feeling well, that’s the last thing you want to do,” he said.

“But what hit me emotionally on this trip was meeting families who Angel Flight has helped keep together during treatment.  It is this emotional assistance that many value most.”

People can still donate for Nick’s cause at www.angelflight.org.au.

cheque-presentation2-WEB Group-shot-WEB

Countdown to epic fundraising flight

Nick Clarke admits he is copping some light-hearted ribbing as he counts down to his 17-day charity flight across rural and remote Queensland.

Someone has stuck a Biggles pilot poster on the door of his office at Redland City Council, and the General Manager of Organisational Services has been fielding all types of random questions from colleagues.

“Someone wanted to know about toilet stops,” Nick said ahead of the 10,000-kilometre journey that departs Caboolture on August 12 with co-pilot and University of Queensland professor, Mike Levy.

“We will be sure not to forget to go before we take off.”

The pair’s first pit stop to raise funds and awareness for Angel Flight will be Toowoomba and they will visit towns as widespread as Thargomindah, Burketown and Cooktown as they tick off visits to 42 of the State’s 73 local government areas in their Foxbat light aircraft.

Angel Flight assists rural and remote Australians to overcome the tyranny of distance when they find themselves in need of access to major hospital and treatment centres.

With almost 30 per cent of Australians living outside metropolitan areas, the problems of potential health risks and higher mortality rates are more common than they may initially seem.

Nick said that he first heard about Angel Flight when he served as President of Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) in Queensland, which also supports the organisation.

The more he learned about the positive impact Angel Flight has on those living in remote areas, the more committed he became to the cause.

His commitment was strengthened when he met Angel Flight pilot Stephen White at a flying school in Redcliffe.

“I was touched by the generosity of pilots like Stephen across Australia who donate their time and their planes to alleviate the discomfort of patients travelling long distances by road to receive medical help at major treatment centres,” Nick said.

“But what really inspired me to take on this project was understanding for the first time that very sick men, women and children living in remote communities have to deal with travelling long distances to major centres and when you’re not feeling well, that’s the last thing you want to do.

“On top of that I realised that most of them don’t have enough money to travel and pay for accommodation. But what hit me emotionally was when I discovered that Angel Flight actually helps to keep families together – for instance if a daughter is ill, her mother can travel with her for treatment and often be back home the same day.”

Besides his high-flying fundraising efforts, Nick is also one of nearly 3,800 Earth Angels across Australia who provide support to patients and carers by using their own cars to transport them to and from airfields and medical facilities.

Money raised from this mission will help pay for aviation fuel and occasional commercial flights when short notice requests for transport are made or when poor weather prevents light aircraft from flying.  It will also assist in the running of the Angel Flight national support centre in Brisbane, which is operated on small infrastructure with just six fulltime paid coordinators.

“Hopefully, we can make a real difference not only in raising money to support Angel Flight but also to build awareness in the communities that Angel Flight is there to help in times of need,” Nick said.

Founder and chairman of Angel Flight, Bill Bristow AM, said he was grateful to people like Nick for supporting Angel Flight with such a generous gesture.

“I am really thrilled to have the support of someone like Nick who is so connected with rural areas to be out spreading the word and creating awareness in regional Queensland that our service is available to them,” Mr Bristow said.

“Nick has a very real understanding of how the charity works and we are very appreciative of the major effort that he is making on this trip around the state and we will keep in touch and give a helping hand along the way where needed.”

Nick first took to the skies at age 16 after growing up under a flight path into Heathrow Airport in London. Through his involvement with Local Government Managers Australia he undertook a similar flight in 2009 and raised $68,000 for Make-A-Wish Australia. The highlights of that trip included getting “up close and personal with crocodiles” at Wujal Wujal in the State’s north, as well as handling exhibits at the dinosaur museum way out west at Richmond.

For this trip, Nick and Mike will share the flying duties and encourage local council managers and staff to support a great cause.  Professor Levy is a part owner of the aircraft and, like most pilots, will do almost anything and go almost anywhere as long as he can fly.

The penultimate stop of this trip will be Dunwich, North Stradbroke Island at 12.45pm on Wednesday, August 28.

Donate at www.angelflight.org.au or follow the flight on Facebook at LgmaCharityFlight2013.

You can also keep up-to-date with Nick’s progress by liking the LGMA Charity Flight 2013 Facebook page.

Mayor and CEO sleep out raises more than $4,400 for homeless

Last night Redland City Mayor Cr Karen Williams and Redland City Council Chief Executive Officer Bill Lyon took part in in the annual St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleep-Out, raising more than $4,400 for homeless.
The Redland Mayor and CEO joined other business and community leaders to raise awareness and important funds in support of essential homeless services across the country.
In the lead-up to the event, Cr Williams and Mr Lyon undertook a dare campaign to raise extra funds towards the cause.


Residents could ‘dare the Mayor and CEO’ to take on challenges including early morning swims, bike ride challenges and donning dreaded ‘Blues’ Origin jerseys and wigs.

Cr Williams raised more than $2900, while Mr Lyon raised $1500 towards supporting homeless programs.
Redland City Council staff donated more than $1100 towards Cr Williams’ total, holding a ‘go comfy for a cause’ day to raise funds, with staff donning pyjamas in the office for a donation.

Collectively, the St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleep-Out raised $732,000 in Queensland alone.

Cr Williams said the event was a humbling experience.

“Our overnight stay on a cold piece of cardboard drove home that there are many people less fortunate than us – people who are homeless through no fault of their own, and people who daily do it tough,” Cr Williams said.

“I would like to thank the Redlands community, local businesses and Council staff for their generous support of this cause.”

Mr Lyon said the money raised would help St Vincent de Paul offer essential services to people most at need.

“After one rough night, I will go home tonight but sadly too many others do not have that opportunity,” Mr Lyon said.

“It was a privilege to work with others in the community to help this cause.”

There are more than 100,000 Australians who find themselves homeless each night of the year. Just under half of these are women and a quarter are under the age of 18.
The Redlands is not immune from homelessness with people sleeping rough and couch surfing. More than 1000 people in our city fall under the ‘disadvantaged’ socio-economic group.

Congratulations to Thornlands local Reid Anderton for completing the fastest solo assisted ride around Australia!

Congratulations to Thornlands local Reid Anderton for completing the fastest solo assisted ride around Australia in 37 days, 1 hour, 18 mins!

Mayor Karen Williams presented Reid with an honourary ‘Swipe card to Redland City’ at Victoria Point this morning. Pictured with them are Reid’s wife Chantelle and his daughter Sierra.

The ride has raised approximately $50,000 for Reid’s charity Eagles Wings Australia to build a science block in a school in Zambia.

For more information, please visit https://www.challengeforchange.org.au/events/aussie-challenge