Guest speaker Chris “Choppy” Close with South Burnett Relay For Life patron Carl Rackemann

May 17, 2024

The South Burnett’s 2024 Relay For Life fundraising campaign officially began on Wednesday morning with a launch breakfast hosted by the Kingaroy RSL Club.

Relay For Life is an annual fundraiser for Cancer Council Queensland.

This year’s relay will be held on from 2:00pm to 10:00pm on Saturday, October 12, at T.J. O’Neill Oval in Kingaroy.

Last year, the South Burnett’s total fundraising was $185,000, but the organising committee is keen to beat that target this year.

CCQ representative Belinda Nunn told the gathered diners the South Burnett’s annual campaign was the biggest and best in Queensland.

She said funds raised had been put towards research and developing a “cancer map” of Australia as well as supporting the Olive McMahon residential lodge in Toowoomba which last year provided 4499 nights of accommodation for South Burnett cancer patients as well as others throughout the Toowoomba region.

South Burnett Relay For Life patron Carl Rackemann said the South Burnett  outperformed the rest of the country, raising about $6 a head at Relay For Life, while the national average was about $1 per head.

Guest speakers at the launch included former NRL player Chris “Choppy” Close who started his rugby league career playing as a junior with the Wondai Wolves.

His career included being named Man of the Match in the inaugural State of Origin game and playing for Manly-Warringah in two NSWRL grand finals.

He also played for Valleys, the Gold Coast, Hull Kingston Rovers and the Redcliffe Dolphins – a team he still supports today.

Chris shared anecdotes about his playing career and family, as well as explaining how the modern game had changed.

His late mother Irma and father Frank were also well-known in the South Burnett – Irma as a dedicated fundraiser for the then-Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service, and Frank as a former police officer at Proston.

Chris said FOGS – Former Origin Greats –  has donated an autographed State of Origin jersey which will be auctioned at the Dinner With The Captains (another key South Burnett Relay For Life fundraiser).

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Some important dates:

  • July 27 – Dinner With The Captains at Kingaroy Town Hall (guest speakers to be confirmed soon)
  • August 27-31 – Ride 4 Relay which will be starting and finishing in Kingaroy, heading via Burrandowan, Jandowae and Kumbia
  • October 12 – Relay For Life at T.J. O’Neill Oval. Register your Relay For Life teams online
South Burnett Relay For Life chair Rowena Dionysius with compere Dennis Cotter
Belinda Nunn, from Cancer Council Queensland at Bundaberg, with special guest Jan Lamborn
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington with her nephew and cancer survivor Ryley Allery
South Burnett Mayor Kathy Duff with councillors Deb Dennien and Jane Erkens
Rowena Dionysius, right, sashed the 2024 Face Of Relay Jan Lamborn
Deputy Mayor Danita Potter was kept busy selling raffle tickets
John Bjelke-Petersen with South Burnett councillors Ros Heit and Heath Sander
Marie Hopper, Margaret Humphrys and Leanne Broadbent at breakfast on Wednesday
Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub-Branch president Don Davey with Corndale resident Alex Berry
Tables in the Tobruk Room at the Kingaroy RSL Club were filled for the Relay For Life launch


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