Winds and spirits high

All rugged up and walking for a good cause ? this couple had the right idea to try and beat the cold at Saturday?s Relay for Life with their warm weather gear complimented by a cup of coffee in both hands. Picture: DAVID HALLKPC68690.JPG

All rugged up and walking for a good cause ? this couple had the right idea to try and beat the cold at Saturday?s Relay for Life with their warm weather gear complimented by a cup of coffee in both hands. Picture: DAVID HALLKPC68690.JPG

Jamberoo Public School team members: Lara McGee, Jacqui McGee, Sharon Behl-Shanks, Toby Behl-Shanks, Warwick Shanks (front) Nicholas McGee, Ethan McGee, Luke Behl-Shanks and Tom Behl-Shanks.KPC68642.JPG

Jamberoo Public School team members: Lara McGee, Jacqui McGee, Sharon Behl-Shanks, Toby Behl-Shanks, Warwick Shanks (front) Nicholas McGee, Ethan McGee, Luke Behl-Shanks and Tom Behl-Shanks.KPC68642.JPG

Team Ash - Lucy Marsden, Anna Summer-Hayes, Ashleigh Collins, Olivia Russell, Madison White, (front) Claudia Young, Hannah Lucas and Lauren Loftberg. Picture: KERRIELYN CLARKrelay3.JPG

Team Ash - Lucy Marsden, Anna Summer-Hayes, Ashleigh Collins, Olivia Russell, Madison White, (front) Claudia Young, Hannah Lucas and Lauren Loftberg. Picture: KERRIELYN CLARKrelay3.JPG

Music Makers' Amy Diaz performed a superb solo. Picture: DAVID HALL

Music Makers' Amy Diaz performed a superb solo. Picture: DAVID HALL

Lenice and Dexter Heffernan braving the chilly conditions to take part in Relay.

Lenice and Dexter Heffernan braving the chilly conditions to take part in Relay.

Kiama SES members rugged up and ready for the Relay challenge.

Kiama SES members rugged up and ready for the Relay challenge.

Music Makers? Melissa Tierney and Kiama Relay for Life's Michael Innes work out the logistics for some of the entertainment at Kiama's Relay for Life. Picture: DAVID HALL

Music Makers? Melissa Tierney and Kiama Relay for Life's Michael Innes work out the logistics for some of the entertainment at Kiama's Relay for Life. Picture: DAVID HALL

ORGANISERS are considering hosting future Kiama Relay for Life events at a different time of year, despite more than 600 people ignoring icy winds and freezing temperatures to complete laps at last weekend's fund-raiser.

Even the most dedicated participants were forced to return home on Saturday night due to the blustery conditions damaging numerous tents.

At the time of publication the organisers' goal of $100,000 had almost been reached.

Last year's relay raised a record $136,000.

Committee chair Michael Innes said they expected to surpass their fund-raising aim as more funds were collated during the coming weeks.

The 24-hour event, which raises funds for the Cancer Council, took place at the Kiama Quarry Sports Complex.

Teams walked the track while festival-type entertainment was provided.

Although the weather affected attendance, Mr Innes was pleased with the outcome given the circumstances.

"We especially want to thank everybody who turned up in spite of the adverse weather conditions and stayed as long as they could, despite the horrific wind and rain," he said.

"The committee will have a debrief in the next few weeks, where we will consider looking at the timing of the event for people to be able to take part in perhaps more enjoyable weather conditions.

"More than 100 hardy souls returned the next morning and completed the 24-hour event.

"We thank everybody for their wonderful fund-raising efforts.

"Raising $100,000 for a small community like ours is a great achievement."

The Kiama Unit of the State Emergency Service entered a team in the event.

They also assisted others, such as Kiama Rotary, in packing up in the adverse weather conditions on Saturday night.

Kiama SES Controller Warren Turner said there was "a bit of carnage" regarding damaged tents.

"We took the initiative and went as all the tents were getting destroyed," he said.

"It was pretty bad, as the tents were starting to suffer under the wind."

Among the final groups to leave on Saturday night was Love Dexter, a team named in honour of Kiama Downs youngster Dexter Heffernan, who suffers from multiple disabilities.

"We stuck around until about 10.30pm, after the tent the kids were supposed to be sleeping in just got flattened," his mother Lenice said.

"We also got close to losing the three shelters they had. I went back about 6.30am and did some more laps.

"(The team has) raised more than $10,500; we were absolutely amazed by that.

"The conditions were difficult, but just to see the people who still turned up, still had smiles on their faces and were still happy was great."

A gallery of photos is available on our website www.kiamaindependent.com.au

■ The community can donate by phoning 4223 0200 or visit www.relayforlife.org.au.

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