THE Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is calling on the public to get freezin’ for a reason this December and sign up for their annual charity Polar Plunge in aid of Special Olympics Ulster.
PSNI officers from the Law Enforcement Torch Run joined other daring plungers at Belfast International Airport this week to officially launch the Polar Plunge challenge, which takes place at the airport on Friday 5th December and aims to raise thousands for Special Olympics athletes.
Mayor of Antrim, councillor Brian Graham, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, Will Kerr, Naomi Morrison, constable, Belfast International Airport Police and Belfast International Airport managing director, Graham Keddie are amongst the intrepid volunteers that have already signed up to take part in the daring event. Now, the public are being called on to get involved.
Taking the idea of an ice-bucket challenge to the next level, a huge 12ft x 20 ft plunge pool filled with 4,000 gallons of ice cold water will be set up outside the front of Belfast International Airport terminal building from 10am on Friday 5thDecember. Challengers will be tasked with jumping into the pool – in freezing December temperatures – to raise vital funds to support local Special Olympics athletes.
Similar events will take place in locations across the Republic of Ireland, with An Garda Síochána officers also taking the plunge to support Special Olympics.
Speaking at the launch, Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Director, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “Over 85,000 police officers from 48 countries across the world work together to deliver Law Enforcement Torch Run events each year, acting as Guardians of the Flame, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the opening ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, as well as taking part in fundraising activities to support Special Olympics programmes.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland is proud to join our colleagues in An Garda Síochána and other law enforcement officers to take part in this Polar Plunge event, which will help to raise vital funds to support the local Special Olympics Ulster athletes. I look forward to leading the plungers, along with other representatives from the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Belfast International’s Graham Keddie and the Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Brian Graham, who will all take part in this special event.”
Belfast International Airport managing director, Graham Keddie added: “We are proud to partner with the Law Enforcement Torch Run to host this exciting Polar Plunge event at Belfast International Airport. I am personally looking forward to taking the first plunge with Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr and members of our management team and colleagues from throughout the airport will follow by taking part in the plunge throughout the day. We would encourage the public to join us and get involved in this great event for a very special cause.”
Special Olympics Ulster provides sporting opportunities for 2,043 athletes with an intellectual disability in 92 clubs across the region.
The PSNI have been involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics since 1996 and continue to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Ulster on an annual basis.
Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster, said: “Special Olympics Ulster supports over 2,000 athletes in Ulster, with year-round activities in 92 clubs across the region.
“Our Polar Plunge event at Belfast International Airport is set to be a fun-filled day with plenty of familiar faces taking the plunge for Special Olympics. This is a great way for local people to support our athletes all across the Ulster region.
“Our special thanks go to the members of the PSNI and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Belfast International Airport and the Mayor of Antrim – this event would not be possible without their valued support.”
Plungers are asked to raise a minimum £40, which goes directly to supporting local athletes with intellectual disabilities through sport and competition. Plungers who raise more than £40 will also receive a complimentary ‘Ice Cool’ t-shirt.
Free parking will be available at Belfast International Airport to people participating in the all polar plunge event.
For more information, photos of previous Polar Plunges and to sign up to take part in the Special Olympics Ulster Polar Plunge at Belfast International Airport, visit www.specialolympics.ie/ulster