Swim Ulster team battles it out with London rivals at The Speedo Charity Swim to raise over £80,000 for Hope For Youth NI
Eight Northern Ireland teenagers competed against London rivals at the biennial House of Lords versus House of Commons Speedo Charity Swim on 27th November 2013.
The Ulster youths were joined by teams from both Houses of Parliament and guest swimmers, including Olympian Mark Foster, for the biennial fundraising event in aid of local charity, Hope for Youth NI.
Young people from Swim Ulster and Chelsea and Westminster Swim Club were first to take to the water at Porchester Hall in a relay event, with the latter taking the lead to win the Speedo Cup.
The competition between the parliamentarians was fierce, with six MPs and six Lords including Tobias Ellwood MP for Bournemouth East (Conservative), Ian Paisley Jnr MP for Antrim (DUP) and The Lord St John of Bletso donning their speedos to compete for the charity.
The House of Lords won the event for the first time in 14 years, with The Lord Paddick (Liberal Democrats) named fastest parliamentarian and awarded the Wilkinson Sword for his achievement.
This unique event, which is in its 26th year, also saw former swimming champions Duncan Goodhew and James Hickman compete alongside Mark Foster and swimmers from local law firm Arthur Cox, in a showcase relay.
Chairman of the Swim Committee, Viscount John Crichton said: “We host this event every two years to raise funds to create new initiatives that will bring young people together in disadvantaged communities across Northern Ireland, through sport, music and the arts.
“The swim and subsequent gala dinner was attended by over 400 guests including Irish and British celebrities from stage, screen and sport, members of both Houses of Parliament and the Trusts’ Patrons including HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO and TV favourites Gloria Hunniford and of course Joanna Lumley OBE who kindly agreed to be our official race starter.
Speedo’s President, David Robinson said: “Speedo is passionate about inspiring people to swim, and the House of Lords vs. House of Commons Speedo Charity Swim brings the excitement of swimming to life in a unique way, while at the same time raising vital funds for a fantastic cause.”
Ion Montgomery, Chairman of Hope for Youth said: “In 2011 we raised £80,000 from ticket sales, donations and an auction and the early indications are that we have managed to exceed that total this year. I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who took part for their generosity of spirit.”
> Swim Ulster Team Battles It Out - Press Release