They made a very cool $76K

By Andrew Johnston

IN A spectacular debut on the Big Freeze circuit, Echuca-Moama has raised a whopping $76,000 — almost $50,000 more than hoped.

And at the same time you got to see friends or family pushed into ice cold water.

So it was definitely an opportunity few were going to miss.

A crowd of close to 1000 invaded the Moama Recreation Reserve on Monday afternoon to take part in the first Big Freeze Echuca Moama.

There they would see 21 local identities (and me) slide from the balcony of the Murray River Council Offices into a freezing cold pool, all in the name of research for motor neuron disease.

For event co-organiser Naomi Beasley, the event’s success is still sinking in.

‘‘It was absolutely phenomenal,’’ she said. ‘‘The community around Echuca-Moama was amazing in what they did. They were all so generous in their donations, giving money or time to help us with this event, it was truly incredible how generous they were.

‘‘Every time an event is run, no matter the cause, the people of our community are so quick to help out and play their part. It’s something that makes our community so special.’’

Through donations the community and sponsors of the event, more than $76,000 has been raised so far — with donations and merchandise sales from the day yet to be counted, meaning the total is likely to end up at more than $80,000.

‘‘When we started this event, the goal we had set was around the $30,000 mark,’’ Naomi said.

‘‘Watching the tally grow over the past few weeks, being able to consistently reset our goals as more and more donations came flooding in, it’s so special to see.’’

Now, with the inaugural Big Freeze completed, attentions are starting to turn to the next event.

‘‘We will probably have to increase the committee, it was a lot of work for three people,’’ she laughed.

But the overriding feeling for Naomi was one of gratitude.

‘‘We were so lucky to have had more than 60 volunteers come forward to give up their time to help us put this event together

‘‘We had some incredible sponsors on board, everyone we approached found a way to get on board and add something to the event. We had 22 sliders who came together to raise more than $50,000 of the total and we cannot thank them enough. Our community is truly a special place.’’