Colebee vs Elara footy day to raise money for children's charities

TAGGED: Colebee versus Elara Charity Footy Day organisers Christine Fernandez with son Tyson and Joe Ayala with daughter Chloe. Picture: Harrison Vesey

TAGGED: Colebee versus Elara Charity Footy Day organisers Christine Fernandez with son Tyson and Joe Ayala with daughter Chloe. Picture: Harrison Vesey

What started as a joke on Facebook has become a community event raising thousands for kids in need.

Hundreds of residents are expected at Charlie Bali Reserve in Doonside this weekend for touch football games borne out of friendly rivalry.

Residents of Elara and Colebee estates will go head-to-head, before joining forces to take on a team from Plumpton Rural Fire Brigade.

Event co-founder Joe Ayala said planning started in July with a joke challenge in a Facebook group from Zack Shimon, a man he’d never met before.

Nobody really knew each other but we’ve been able to form such a great team to see this goal through.

Joe Ayala

After the post attracted more than 80 comments, the men joined forces with Marilyn Winn and Christine Fernandez to make the family fun day a reality.

“What’s amazing is this came out of mucking around, and the fact is nobody really knew each other but we’ve been able to form such a great team to see this goal through,” Mr Ayala said.

Ms Fernandez, who is part of the volunteer Colebee Community Organisation, said she believed events such as these were great for community spirit.

“These days people are lucky to know their neighbours, let alone their entire streets,” she said.

“Knowing your neighbour and knowing your neighbour’s neighbour is how you feel safe.”

Mr Ayala, who moved to the new estate from The Ponds, said he and his wife wanted to raise their family in a place with a community feel.

“It’s something we’ve been longing for, having mates in the area and people you can actually meet up with. Breaking those boundaries at our fence,” he said.

“As soon as an idea gets birthed and the initiative is there, then there’s definitely a longing there because the response has been amazing.”

Shops in the area have jumped on board to support the initiative, donating nearly $5700 worth of raffle prizes.

The funds raised will be split between The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Variety, the children’s charity.

The family fun day will also feature a petting zoo, children’s obstacle course and jumping castle, with a barbecue lunch donated by Woolworths in Greenway Village.

Norwest Oztag donated all the necessary equipment and is providing a referee.

The Charity Footy Event runs from 10am this Sunday, October 15, with matches at 11am and 1pm.