Model Citizens Raise Lifesaving Funds For Rescue Helicopter

Seven-year-old Mackay girl Rahni Richford raised $6076 and was crowned Charity Princess at the 2017 RACQ CQ Rescue Model Search on Saturday night.

Eighty-two models competed in the event, held at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, to help raise more than $20,000 for one of the region’s most deserving and well-respected charities and be in the running to be discovered by an international modelling agency.


Winner Rahni Richford held a Mother’s Day and Easter gift stalls at various markets around the region as well as cent sales to fundraise for the event. Charity Princess first runner-up was Ebanee Francis (3374.85), second runner-up was Darci Everett ($3130) and third runner-up was Ashlee Berkett ($2037.65).

Although an exact final figure hadn’t been tallied, event organiser Brooke Thompson and owner of Brooke Lee Modelling, said in the last five years the RACQ CQ Rescue Model Search had raised about $100,000 for the Mackay-based rescue helicopter service.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have achieved such an extraordinary fundraising figure from the model search for the last few years as the rescue helicopter does such a vital job here in this region,” Ms Thompson said.

“Our models were very resourceful raising over and above their $250 entrant fee and this year we had many entrants from further afield from places like Emerald, Moranbah, Middlemount, Yeppoon and Dysart. Their commitment to fundraising was certainly very impressive and resulted in a great outcome for our nominated charity, RACQ CQ Rescue.”

Among the younger competitors this year were Mackay sisters Ashlee and Penny Berkett. Ashlee entered again this year in the 8 to 11 years age group and Penny registered in the 4 to 7 years group for the first time. Both girls were fundraising to become Charity Princesses with Ashlee named third runner-up.

Ashlee and Penny, with help from their mum Amy, made over 250 bump packs to raise funds for RACQ CQ Rescue, which they sold, along with fundraising chocolates around their neighbourhood and various markets around the region.

Ms Thompson said the models competed in two categories on Saturday night including Daywear and Cocktail/Evening Wear for ages four and over as well as the Swimsuit Category for models aged 12 and over.

RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Ian Rowan congratulated all the model search entrants and Ms Thompson for their ongoing support of the Mackay-based rescue helicopter service. “All the entrants and their families have worked incredibly hard fundraising for this event and achieved an impressive total which is truly overwhelming and greatly appreciated,” Mr Rowan said.

“Congratulations to Brooke Thompson on another amazing event and of course, to the individual winners. Every entrant in this year’s model search has made a valuable contribution to this community and a huge difference to people in dire need of help in a time of crisis,” he said.

More than 300 people attended the RACQ CQ Rescue Model Search gala presentation evening at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.

Overall winners of the 201 RACQ CQ Rescue Model Search were:

4-7 years – Ryder Brown (first), Amith Jeppesen (second), Aiylah Edwards (third)

8-11 years – Isabella Huston, Matilda Ralph, Shanique Lambert

12-14 years – (Swimwear)  Soana Cameron, Jacquelyn Watts, Dakota Lee Shaw 

12-14 years - Brooke Mackrill, Huntah Doevendans, Adela Cameron

15 years and over – Tyler Smith, Sophie Messina, Taya Pooley

15 years and over (Swimwear) – Chynna Williams, Ruby Choy, Samantha Halgreen

Most Photogenic – Ryder Brown (4-7years), Shanique Lambert (8-11 years), Sarah Morrison (12-14 years), Samantha Halgreen (15 years & over)

Vivien’s Model Management Winner – Renee Hunt & Taya Pooley