Port MacDonnell resident Cathie Williams has fielded many phone calls during her tenure as president of the seaside town’s football club.
The one which originated from Beachport in April directly led to a costumed Cathie ending up in a tank of iced water on Saturday afternoon.
The caller of two months ago was Kate Nowak and her reason for making contact was to invite Cathie and her Port MacDonnell Football Club to take part in the annual Big Freeze 9.
The charity stunt involving ice baths and dunking takes part at hundreds of venues across the nation each June and raises funds for research into the Motor Neurone Disease.
It is a cause close to the heart for Kate as her father and fellow Beachport resident Reg Hamilton was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago.
As Hatherleigh was hosting Port MacDonnell in football and netball, Kate was keen to get Cathie and her Demons on-side.
Cathie immediately committed the seasiders to the event and began fundraising.
Three other club members also came on board: new club secretary Hayley Goodwin and mother-and-daughter Montanna and Kelly Millard who lost their family matriarch to Motor Neurone Disease.
“We were happy to put all the funds we raised towards Kate’s tally,” Cathie said.
“Supporting each other is what grass roots footy is all about.
“We had collection tins, an auction and a donation from the Anglers Club.”
In the meantime, Kate recruited five members of the Hatherleigh sporting community who were willing to fundraise a minimum of $500 as well as take the icy plunge.
They were Tom Bell, Matt Nettle, Dylan Clough, Millie Smith and Tim Merrett.
Kate has coordinated similar events in recent years and there were many other tasks including media coverage, fundraising, obtaining a dunking machine on loan and securing Triple M announcer Ewan Grant as the Master of Ceremonies.
All the while, Reg was providing moral and practical support.
There is no doubt that Big Freeze 9 contributed to the presence of a bumper crowd at Hatherleigh on Saturday.
As the half-time siren sounded at 3.15pm, the nine hardy souls in animal costumes made their way to the dunking machine located in front of the crowded scoreboard mound, barbecue and booth.
One-by-one, they were introduced by Triple M’s Ewan Grant, and greeted with cheers.
The “dunkers” then climbed into position above the water tank and were despatched into the water after Reg struck the release mechanism with a hammer.
“I have never felt so cold,” said Cathie who had worn a butterfly costume.
Kate is grateful to all who contributed to the success of the day, which raised $19,600 for the cause.
“Christy Wallace volunteered to do face painting and accepted donations for Big Freeze 9 while Sally Bateman baked decorative cakes and biscuits,” she said.
“We sold Big Freeze 9 beanies and online donations were made totalling well over $2000.”
Reg is proud of the efforts of his daughter as well as the support of the communities of Hatherleigh and Beachport.
“There have been donations made by the Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay as well as the Beachport Hotel Social Club,” Reg said.
“I began playing football at Hatherleigh 50 years ago when I was shearing in this area.
“I have been involved with the club ever since with committees and so on.
“I only stopped being the timekeeper when I could no longer climb the stairs.
“At Hatherleigh, everyone is your mate.”