The award-winning Gold Coast International Marine Expo has continued its heritage of giving back to the community-based charities that have helped cement the event’s credentials as one of the best boat shows in Australia.
The not-for-profit Expo – named as 2015’s Best Exhibition at the Australian Events Industry Awards – has donated a total of $79,000 to charity since it was founded in 2011, and continues to assist a wide range of other worthy community causes in their fundraising efforts.
Expo event and marketing manager Emma Brown welcomed this year’s beneficiary charities – Rotary Club of Coomera River, Sailability Gold Coast, Ronald McDonald House Charities South East Queensland and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service – to a special thank-you gathering this week for the presentation of $12,000 raised from this year’s successful event.
“Giving back to these charities is our way of saying thank-you for their tireless efforts in supporting the Expo and the Australian marine industry,” she said. “Without them, Expo wouldn’t have grown to be everything it is today.”
Expo chairman Brett Thurley said ‘the boat show with so much more’ would continue to reinvent the concept of a traditional marine trade exposition to foster jobs, growth and opportunities in the broader Australian marine industry.
“Nowhere else in the world is there a boat show held right in the heart of the biggest boat-building facilities and recreational shipyards in the country,” he said.
“People love coming here to the Gold Coast Marine Precinct and they love being a part of Expo – they love the fact Expo brings the community together in such a vibrant and fun-filled environment and they love the fact they are part of something really special, where people truly care about and support each other.
“Amazing things can be achieved when an entire community works together.”
The Rotary Club of Coomera River – with 37 active members – is able to provide an army of some 100 volunteers throughout the four fantastic days of Expo, assisting visitors into a free car-park of over 2500 spaces right outside the welcome gates.
Club president Jen Dreyer and secretary/president-elect Val Bruce shared the credit for the Expo’s smooth car-parking arrangements with the community-minded youth members of the Interact, EarlyAct and Rotaract clubs which are very active on the northern end of the Gold Coast, and so willingly supported by Assisi and St Stephen’s schools.
“These young people are the community leaders of tomorrow and it’s very rewarding to see them develop this kind of commitment to our community,” said Mrs Dreyer. “It’s a real credit to them.”
Preshni Pillay said Ronald McDonald House Charities – SEQ was looking forward to increasing its involvement in the Expo even further in 2016.
“Expo is really family-oriented and the team is very easy to work with – we are hoping to be involved in creating even greater fun and innovative attractions for families in 2016,” she said.
Ronald McDonald House Charities – SEQ is the charity’s biggest chapter in Australia, assisting over 1600 families at its two Ronald McDonald Houses in Brisbane, as well as many thousands more at ‘family rooms’ at a number of hospitals, including the Gold Coast University Hospital at Parklands.
Sailability Gold Coast helps 70-100 disabled and disadvantaged people each week to experience the freedom and exhilaration of sailing.
President Jenny Ponting – who accepted the Expo donation with fellow committee members Paul Dinniss and Peter Board – said Sailability relied on donations from organisations and private individuals to maintain its fleet of vessels based at its Hopewell facility.
“We work closely with Expo, Southport Yacht Club and Gold Coast City Marina to make a difference in the lives of others,” she said. “We do what we can to support each other.”
Scott Harrison from Surf Life Saving Queensland – which also provides the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service – said Expo’s contribution would help save lives this summer.
He said SLSQ – the state’s peak aquatic rescue authority – supports over 9000 active members and 30,500 members at 58 affiliated surf clubs in six regional branches throughout Queensland.
“Every dollar we receive is important to help us achieve our aim of zero preventable deaths in Queensland this summer – these funds will help fund the operation and maintenance of the rescue helicopter and the clubs that keep our beaches and waterways safer.”
Expo bigger and better again in 2016
Expo committee member Stephen Milne vowed the 6th annual Expo from 19-22 May 2016 will be bigger and better than ever.
“The close-knit Expo culture has been created through a genuine and caring relationship with industry and a wide range of community groups – together, we harness incredible horsepower that will continue to elevate us to the next level.
“The Australian Events Industry Awards are like the Academy Awards for the events industry … and we are extremely humbled to share the honour of Best Exhibition for 2015 with all the volunteers, visitors and exhibitors who have helped us get where we are today.
“On behalf of the Expo committee and all our Expo exhibitors, thank-you for supporting us and believing that the best is yet to come.”