Whitsunday Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia executive committee member Russell Smith with co-chairpersons Courtney Leifels and Ron Petterson at this year's Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia 2019 James Bond Gala on Saturday.
Whitsunday Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia executive committee member Russell Smith with co-chairpersons Courtney Leifels and Ron Petterson at this year's Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia 2019 James Bond Gala on Saturday. Shannen McDonald

Glitzy gala smashes fundraising record by thousands

A NEW fundraising record was set at a glitzy charity gala on Saturday night.

More than $26,000 was raised at the Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia 2019 James Bond Gala, easily eclipsing previous fundraising efforts by the ball committee and team.

This year's total, which will support Ronald McDonald House in Townsville, was well above the $20,000 raised at the ball in each of the past two years.

In the first four years of the ball, almost $70,000 was raised to support the charity, which helps residents of the Whitsundays when their children are in hospital in Townsville.

This year's mammoth effort means the organisers are certain to pass the $100,000 mark at next year's event, something they are already planning for despite this year's event having only just finished.

While the total for this year's event is yet to be finalised, organisers are ecstatic with the new record.

"I'm 1000 per cent happy. It was bigger and better than we imagined," Whitsunday Ronald McDonald House Charity North Australia co-chairman Ron Petterson said.

"We thought it was going to be good but it was phenomenal."

Co-chairwoman Courtney Leifels agreed.

"We could not have asked for anything better," she said.

"We've had the biggest influx of positive feedback."

With martinis, a mini casino, live auction, music by the band 1RAR, and of course guests dressed in formal wear, the night at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill had all the glitz and glamour of a James Bond movie.

Ms Leifels said the event was an important part of fundraising efforts for Ronald McDonald House.

"The events we have in Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa and here is what funds it (Ronald McDonald House)," she said.

The Townsville house looks after people from more than 25 per cent of Australia.

Of those, people from the Mackay and Whitsunday region make up 25 per cent of those who use the house.

"It's very important that house stays," Mr Petterson said.

He paid tribute to the team who helped put the gala evening together, as well as sponsors and supporters.

Despite the event only just finishing, the organisers are not sitting on their laurels basking in the success, they are already looking towards next year's event.

"We just want to keep getting bigger and better," Ms Leifels said.

"We're working on a date, theme and location."

With tickets selling out well in advance this year, organisers plan to open pre-registration for next year's event in only six to eight weeks' time on their Whitsunday Ronald McDonald House Charity Facebook page.

This will allow people and organisations to register their interest early and they will get first offer of tickets.