Brigade appeal for funds to host state championships

Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Photo: Jesinta Burton.

The Esperance Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service have appealed for financial assistance, as they prepare to host the State Open Volunteer Fire Brigade Championships for the first time in more than 20 years.

The club will host 10 to 15 teams from across the state in March, 2019, and expect around 250 to 300 people to attend the competition.

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Coach Brian Willoughby said the club accepted the challenge but would need support to ensure the current facility was up to standard.

“We are probably one of the most isolated of the brigades so it’s fairly awkward for a lot of the brigades, like Kununurra, to get down to here,” he said.

“You couldn’t really get any further apart if you wanted to.

“They’ve all guaranteed they’ll come so we’re expecting 10-15 teams, each comprising of around 12-15 runners, and we reckon up to 250-300 people will turn up once you count coaches, spectators and family, too.

“We’ve got sponsorship from Southern Ports Authority, so it’ll be the Southern Ports Authority State Open Championships, which is great and we’re really pleased with them having given us that kind of sponsorship.

“What we’ll have to do with our building is extend the top ends of it, the east and west ends of the building, so that we can upgrade our electric timing to cater for the new technology we have to have now.”

Mr Willoughby said the upgrade alone would cost approximately $30,000 – with team members having already raised $20,000 through their own fundraising efforts.

“These kids, aged 10 to 16, have raised $20,000 already in their own fundraising efforts,” he said.

“Now, we’re chasing around the businesses, houses and local residents to get the remaining sponsorship.

“The plans and specifications have been approved by council, so we’re right to go there.

“I’ve been handing out a lot of letters personally for sponsorship.

Photo: Brian Willoughby.

Photo: Brian Willoughby.

“Anyone that feels obliged to give away a few dollars we’ll take it from them quite gladly.

“Any little bit helps and you are supporting our kids, who are going to be your firefighters protecting your town, property and life in years to come.”

With the last state championships having been held in 1996, Mr Willoughby said the team hoped to display the club’s memorabilia and trophies, too.

“We want to make sure the inside is set up nicely, too,” he said.

“We want to hang up all of our trophies and photos and memorabilia and make it a real show place for the brigade.

“We last held the state championships in 1996 when we first built the track and we had 20 teams come that year – it was a big event.

“The bitchumen was still wet when we finished it on the Thursday and on the Saturday we ran.”

Mr Willoughby extended thanks to the Esperance Football Club for their support, after offering to open their clubrooms and cater for the social nights on the Saturday and Sunday.

To make a donation, contact Esperance Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service via www.facebook.com/evfrs/