OLYMPIC AND COMMONWEALTH medallist Brenton Rickard signs posters and other memorabilia for adoring fans at Gatton Pool during the Australia Day Carnival last week.
OLYMPIC AND COMMONWEALTH medallist Brenton Rickard signs posters and other memorabilia for adoring fans at Gatton Pool during the Australia Day Carnival last week.

Pool raises more than $11,000

Olympic swimmer Brenton Rickard cut training short to get there and try to raise some spirits as well as money for the Lockyer Valley Regional Council Flood Appeal.

Trish Reinhardt of Gatton Pool said Swimming Queensland also donated $500 to the fund-raiser for the LVRC Flood Appeal in addition to the amount raised by auctions and donations at the carnival.

"We were so thrilled to be able to tally the final figure for the day at more than $11,000," Mrs Reinhardt said.

"What a terrific team effort of volunteers from the Gatton Swimming Club.

"As people were leaving they stopped and thanked us for having the day.

"One lady said that the images on TV had made her feel very sad but she was happy to come to Gatton and make a donation that she had in some small way been able to help, and that seemed to be the attitude on the day."

The mood and spirit of the day was quite different from the usual Australia Day Carnival with the focus still very serious for competition but with the visit from Brenton Rickard, the auction and the donation of all funds, the day was filled with generosity and good wishes to our Valley.

The auction of the framed t-shirt signed by the 2008 Olympic team (kindly provided by Swimming Australia) was handled by auctioneer Andrew O’Brien who managed to get the crowd to $770.

Toowoomba coach Gail Walker won the shirt and there were other signed items provided by Queensland Swimming that were also auctioned for the appeal.

Mrs Reinhardt said Brenton Rickard was amazing and the response to him was terrific.

"I am now a huge fan after seeing him handle with such grace and style the excitement, overcrowding and enthusiasm of so many swimmers," she said.

"He sat and signed autographs for an hour and a half and posed for photos and then helped with the auction.

"The 800m races were the highlight of the carnival and are the only events with cash prizes.

"We were totally stunned when one after another swimmers collected their prizes and then came quietly to the window to donate them back.

"It was indicative of the spirit of the day.

"The club and the Gatton Swim Centre are so proud to be part of such an amazing day, and for all of us the big thrill was to raise so much money to go to our Valley."

 Just three representatives from Dalby attended due to their pool still being flood-affected and athletes had not been able to train due to sediment, mud and other damage.

As a result many pools across the region have had school and club swimming cancelled or have had to make trips to other pools.

Trish Reinhardt said by 10.30am there were 600 visitors that had walked through the gate and a total of 305 swimmers on the day.

Visiting clubs included Logan Vikings Swim Club, Fairholme Swimming Club, Academy Swim Club, Redcliffe Leagues, Newtown Swimming Club, Dalby Swim Club and many more.

Brenton Rickard arrived at the Gatton Pool at 11am 

He said it was about showing your face in the Valley and getting over tough times.


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