Caloundra Panthers bounce back after fire

The Caloundra Panthers opened their renovated club house to the community on the weekend following a devastating fire in September.

Since the fire ripped through their 40-year-old club house the hard-working Panthers volunteers and surrounding community have been working around the clock to repair and restore the iconic Sunshine Coast AFL Club.

The Panthers launched a fundraising campaign to cover the costs of rebuilding- Buy A Brick Fundraiser.

The Buy A Brick Fundraiser was initiated for individuals, families, community groups, business and other organisations to purchase a brick at the Club house with a message of their choice.

Panthers volunteer, Leanne Hipwood was the main driver of the fundraising campaign and was thrilled with the support since the fire and the turn-out on Saturday at the clubhouse.

“Saturday would not have happened without our Panther committee and a few not on the committee even, who have pride and passion for the Panthers,” Mrs Hipwood said. 

“I do not think there would be many other clubs, of any code, who could boast so many people working-hard and together to rebuild and put on a day like Saturday.”

The Buy A Brick Fundraiser has not only seen donations of money but material donations and volunteer labour that has gone a long way in minimising the cost of the rebuild.

Caloundra Minister for Parliament, Mark McArdle attended the Buy A Brick launch a few months back and fittingly attended and revealed the brick plaques on Saturday.

“This Club is a testament to the Sunshine Coast and Caloundra… the community spirit that has been shown is nothing short of outstanding,” Mr McArdle said.

“What this Club and community have achieved in such a short period of time makes me proud to represent this region.

“Here today and speaking directly with the Fire Fighters who were here on the night of the blaze really highlights how lucky we were to losing the entire building.”

Fire Fighters who attended the night of the blaze spoke of the scorching heat and massive smoke cover in the building as they broke down the doors.

One Fire Fighter described the flames on the night of the blaze as ‘licking at the ceiling’ as it tried to engulf the entire clubhouse.

The local Fire Fighters were praised for their efforts and were impressed with the recovery efforts of the Footy Club.

The Buy A Brick Fundraiser will conclude after 2013 AFL Sunshine Coast Sign-On.

Check out all of the photos from the day and the brick wall covered in messages- click here

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