When Irish galloper Twilight Payment crossed the finish line first in this year’s Melbourne Cup the RFDS won its own $50,000 prize via its volunteer support group on Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Island Race Club generously picked the RFDS as its recipient in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep destinations, after being one of 24 rural and regional tour towns and regions across Australia allocated a barrier for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup prize.
To top that win off, Twilight Payment’s owner Lloyd Williams and connections also announced they would match the donation dollar for dollar, taking the overall contribution to a cool $100,000.
RFDS Central Operations Chairman Peter de Cure says the news was met with excitement from the RFDS Kangaroo Island Support Group, from the RFDS staff and most importantly, the people of Kangaroo Island.
“The whole Island has been through an incredibly difficult time recovering from the bushfires last summer and then a drastic drop in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Peter says.
“This is a wonderful contribution to the RFDS as we continue to support the island.”
The RFDS flies in and out of Kangaroo Island three times a week to airlift patients in need of urgent medical attention. This flight only takes 15 minutes compared to a road and boat trip lasting at least four hours to get to a major hospital in Adelaide.
The People’s Cup traversed Australia for two months leading up to the ‘race that stops the nation’, bringing the Melbourne Cup spirit to towns across every state with many affected by bushfires and drought.
Kangaroo Island Racing Club successfully asked to host the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour to boost the spirits of locals after they suffered devastating losses from bushfires.
Club President Mark Turner said it was wonderful to host the tour during September, along with two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and South Australian local John Letts.
“It means a lot to the community [and] what a buzz it was,” he says.