Home and Away fans had a reason to celebrate recently when long-time cast member Kate Ritchie returned to the show after a five-year absence to resume her role of girl-next-door Sally Fletcher for a special story arc.
What they didn't yet know was that Fletcher was back in Summer Bay to try to get help for nine-year-old daughter Pippa who, as it was revealed last week, is dying from an incurable disease.
More from Home and Away
Cast in the emotive role was newcomer Piper Morrissey, an 11-year-old with appearances on ABC's legal drama Crownies already under her belt.
Although she didn't know who Ritchie was when auditioning, the schoolgirl told AAA the Home and Away veteran became like a mother to her on the Seven show's set.
"It's not that we just worked together, we became really good friends and we are still in touch," Morrissey said.
"When our first episode went to air we called each other before and after. She hasn't got any children of her own but she was so lovely to work with and she was like a mother."
Ritchie was just eight when she landed the role of Sally and went on to play the part for more than 20 years before departing the show in 2008.
As a new young member of the cast, Morrissey said she asked Ritchie how she got her start.
"Kate said she was quite embarrassed when she first got the role," Morrissey said. "I got to see a photo of her when she was younger and it was so weird and cool to see her when she was my age."
Despite her acting aspirations, Morrissey is committed to continue her education and enjoyed being home-schooled for a brief period while working on an upcoming project in Brisbane.
But the hardest part of going to school is keeping Home and Away plotlines from her classmates.
"I told some of my friends I was going to be on the show and they kept asking what will happen but I said 'You'll just have to wait'," Morrissey said.