A shipping container filled with a tonne of ice and almost 19,000 litres of water set the scene for the South West Big Freeze on Sunday at the Allansford Hotel.
Thirteen sliders dressed up to brave the chilly water in front of a crowd of about 1000 people, hoping to raise funds for those living with Motor Neuron Disease.
Prior to the event, the water temperature sat at nine degrees and continued to drop as hundreds of bags of ice were added taking it to a low of -5.
Organisers said Sunday's event had raised more than $40,000 with the final tally to also include funds raised at a Big Freeze event at Brauer College, in conjunction with the Merri River School, to be held on Monday, June 5.
Slider and Allansford football club reserves coach Mark 'Douga' White, dressed as Alan from The Hangover movie, said the freezing cold water was refreshing.
"It took my breath away but it's all for a good cause," Mr White said. "I don't know anyone that's suffered from MND but I know many people out there have. I'm just happy to help out at a good community event."
Slider and Allansford's "unofficial mayor" Eddie White dressed as Willy Wonka from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory delighted children by throwing chocolate bars into the crowd.
He said the community atmosphere was "absolutely brilliant" and everyone got behind it. "It's a great cause and if we can help raise a few more dollars then that's what we're going to do," Mr White said. "It's about supporting the cause and everyone pitching in."
Slider and Member for Wannon Dan Tehan congratulated the volunteer organisers and the Allansford community who came "out in force to support it".
Mr Tehan dressed as AFL Tigers' great Kevin Bartlett complete with a blonde wig.
"It's a great cause and it's an insidious disease," he said. "We need to do everything we can to make sure we can find a cure for it."
Warrnambool's Heather and Rodney Batten attended their first Big Freeze and said it was a great day out. "We're very impressed," Mrs Batten said.
"We're supporting raising money for a cure and treatment for this horrible disease," she said. "We're fortunate we don't have anyone directly connected but we want to help raise money for a cure."
Co-organiser Sarah Dunn said the turnout and community support they'd received was "incredible".
Mrs Dunn lost her dad Robert Orde, of Noorat, to MND 15 years ago. In the past nine years she and a band of south-west residents have raised $150,000 for the cause.
"Dad was diagnosed and we lost him very quickly," Mrs Dunn said. "Eight weeks, and he was gone. For us as a family it was extremely tough.
"I hadn't heard of MND and that's why I'm so passionate about getting awareness out there. It's not incurable, it's underfunded. Patients don't live long enough - the life expectancy is roughly 27 months."
She said the group wanted to make a difference and follow AFL legend and MND ambassador Neale Daniher's example.
"We want to do what we can here in our local community and have fun," she said. "Neale always says 'do your fundraising and have fun with it'. That's a really important part of it," she said.
View a gallery of photos from the Big Freeze here
IN OTHER NEWS
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.