Mount Gambier woman Sue Watt is handing over the mantle of event organiser after seven years on the committee of Ski for Life.
The 2021 Ski for Life event, which raises funds and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, this month attracted 27 teams from across Australia who made an extraordinary journey by boat and ski from Murray Bridge to Renmark, with a valuable purpose.
While unique to each person who takes the journey, Ski for Life is an event that, on a 456km stretch of the Murray River, helps people in a weekend find hope and solace in their loved ones, their friends and their comrades.
It’s an event that sees passionate water skiers rejoice in the river, while also supporting local communities along the way; but it also aims to help people to grieve for family or for friends lost to the tragedy of suicide.
While 2021 saw the ninth and largest Ski for Life since beginning in 2013 as a humble event comprising around 20 people and two boats, it also marked the seventh and final time volunteers Sue Watt and Jane Kellock would participate as organisers.
As day one skiers and later volunteers spending hundreds of hours per year to facilitate the event alongside fellow committee members, both Ms Watt and Ms Kellock will be back in 2022 as participants.
However, Ms Watt said the time had come for fresh committee faces to continue the growing legacy of the event, adding that she hoped Ski for Life will become a “household name”.
“It’s sad that we could not save those that we’d love to have saved, but we do not know how many people we have saved through Ski for Life,” Ms Watt said.
“I’m happy to have put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of my time, if it meant saving one life.”
The Ski for Life cause continues to grow, year by year, with the event over the 2021 March long weekend welcoming nearly 300 people.
Ms Watt added that, while the event may look different as she and Ms Kellock step down, continuing to change and continuing to incorporate positive feedback would ensure the event evolves.
“I can speak for Jane and myself here in saying that by us stepping down, change will be a positive thing,” she said.
“It will empower other people to step up and run the event.
“I have full faith the committee that we have will take this event to bigger and better places and I cannot wait to just be a participant.”
It is understood that replacements for both Ms Watt and Ms Kellock will be announced at Ski for Life’s 2021 annual general meeting.