Ararat Blue Ribbon Gala Night of Nights raises $30,000

The Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Ararat branch has held its 12th annual Gala “Night of Nights” event to raise funds for the East Grampians Health Service, contributing the final $30,000 towards its $150,000 commitment to a new CT scanner.

The ball was attended by more than 230 people, including special guests Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner/Western Region Jack Blayney, who acknowledged the work of Victoria Police and led a minute’s silence in memory of police killed in the line of duty, and Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services, David Southwick MP, who paid tribute to the Ararat Branch of the Foundation for their achievements.

Other special guests included Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation chairman Bill Noonan, Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation former chairman and inaugural member John Forbes, Member for Ripon Joe Helper, Ararat Rural City Mayor Cr Ian Wilson and East Grampians Health Service board president Sally Philip.

A special presentation was made to retiring MP Joe Helper, who has attended all 12 Blue Ribbon gala nights and has been a great supporter of the Foundation.

This year’s gala night succeeded in raising $30,000 after the auction saw attendees bid enthusiastically for the amazing array of generously donated auction items, put under the hammer by regular celebrity auctioneer Phil de Fegely. Ball-goers also enjoyed dancing the night away to the sounds of Victoria Police Code One.

Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services David Southwick – who represented Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells – said it was a credit to the Blue Ribbon Foundation, its hardworking members and the local community that $120,000 had already been raised prior to the gala night to purchase another vital piece of equipment to support health services in the region.

“The funds raised by the Blue Ribbon Foundation will help purchase a CT scanner for the hospital’s Medical Imaging Unit and will ensure patients who need imaging services are able to access those facilities here in Ararat,” Mr Southwick said.

A CT scanner is used by physicians to get a detailed 3-D image of parts of the body, such as soft tissues, the lungs, blood vessels, the brain, abdomen and bones.

Since its inception in 2002, the Ararat Branch has raised more than $670,000 for the health service, including:

$63,000 to the John McNally Emergency Department

$150,000 to the John McNally Helicopter Landing Pad

$286,000 to purchase radiology equipment for the John McNally Medical Imaging Department

$45,000 towards theatre equipment for the Peri Operative Department

The fundraising efforts were dedicated to the memory of Sgt John McNally, who was murdered at the Mount Ararat goldfields in 1856. Since 1853, 157 Victoria Police members have been killed in the line of duty. Mr Southwick congratulated the Blue Ribbon Foundation on its work to preserve the memory of police members who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the community.

“The legacy of fallen police officers lives on in hospitals across Victoria, where money donated to the Blue Ribbon Foundation is used to improve facilities and purchase life-saving equipment,” Mr Southwick said.

“It’s heartening that so many individuals, community organisations and businesses in south-west Victoria have again committed funds to support the East Grampians Health Service.”