Business leaders from Northern Ireland are scheduled to join parliamentarians, competitive swimmers, and royalty for a unique fundraising event in aid of Northern Ireland charity Hope For Youth this November.
Now in its 28th year, the Hope For Youth Northern Ireland Speedo Charity Swim Gala Dinner has included famous faces like House of Lords team captain, The Lord St John of Bletso and House of Commons team captain, Northern Ireland’s Ian Paisley, as well as MPs including Kirsty Blackman and Chris Bryant – who were on last year’s winning relay team – Joanna Lumley, OBE, Duncan Goodhew MBE, and a number of Speedo world-class UK swimmers like James Hickman, Kerri-Anne Payne and Michael Jamieson, among others.
The gala event, set to take place on Thursday 23rd in London’s Porchester Hall, will pit swimmers from teams representing the House of Commons and House of Lords against each other, continuing a friendly rivalry to raise awareness and funds for the great work Hope For Youth does across Northern Ireland. Following the swim and presentation of medals, guests will be treated to dinner highlighting some of Northern Ireland’s finest ingredients as well as a silent auction including prizes ranging from sporting memorabilia to exclusive holidays. All money raised from the live and silent auctions will go to Hope For Youth Northern Ireland.
Among the Northern Ireland-based businesses supporting this year’s charity swim is one of the world’s leading international law firms, Herbert Smith Freehills, who will not only sponsor the event but will also see two of their Belfast-based team members dive in to raise money for Hope For Youth. Lisa McLaughlin, Director of Alternative Legal Services for the UK, US & EMEA said, “We are very proud to be sponsoring this year’s event and to be supporting such a great cause. Since opening our Belfast office over 6 years ago, we have really enjoyed becoming a part of the local business and wider community. Hope For Youth has been making a huge difference in people’s lives for many years now and it’s really important that we do what we can to help young people from across our community”.
Commenting on the role Hope For Youth plays for young people in Northern Ireland and the importance of the upcoming charity swim, Lord Erne, Swim Chair, said, “Hope For Youth NI has been making a difference to young peoples’ lives for over 40 years. The charity helps to fund cross-community projects in Northern Ireland that will enhance the lives of young people aged 11-18. Our biannual charity swim helps to raise much-needed funds to ensure community projects – many of which are dealing with issues of deprivation – and initiatives can continue their great work. Projects supported by Hope For Youth NI have included: Music Theatre For Youth NI, The Youth Lyric, Sport Changes Life’s E-Hoops basketball programme, and the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children, amongst others.”
Continuing their long-standing partnership with leading swimwear brand Speedo, world-class swimmers including Olympians Michael Jamieson and Craig Gibbons, triathalon coach Daniel Bullock, who worked closely with Speedo to develop the brand’s Speedo On platform, and Annie Emmerson, International duathlete, triathlete and runner will also take to the blocks to step up the pace of the relay teams. World class swimmers will be joined by amateur swimmers from the City of Belfast Swimming Club, who will also take part in the event to help raise vital funds for Hope For Youth’s beneficiary organisations in Northern Ireland, having recently benefitted from funding from Hope For Youth to promote their water safety programme ‘The Ripple Effect’ to primary school students.
The highlight of the prestigious event will be the House of Lords versus House of Commons heats with Northern Ireland’s own Ian Paisley taking to the blocks for a great cause. Captain of the House of Commons Team Mr Paisley said, “Hope For Youth provides vital funds for cross-community youth projects in Northern Ireland and I am looking forward to continuing my participation in this long-established fundraising effort. The swim challenge is a great event for politicians to get involved in, as it highlights the wonderful work the charity does in Northern Ireland as well as furthering relationships between representatives from across the UK with a common interest in promoting inclusivity and peace in Northern Ireland. ”
Delighted to sponsor the swim in its 28th year, Rob Hicking, Brand Director at Speedo said; “The House of Lords v House of Commons Charity Swim is an important swim event, as it not only helps to raise crucial funds for Hope For Youth but also highlights the importance of swimming as a way of staying fit and keeping active. The inclusion of amateur through to professional-level swimmers in the event highlights how swimming can be an enjoyable and beneficial sport for individuals of all abilities and backgrounds.”
Hope for Youth Chairman Noel Lamb added; “We’re so thankful to Speedo for its continued support for our charity swim. The event continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to raising much-needed funds for Hope For Youth’s grant scheme to continue to promote cross-community programmes throughout Northern Ireland.”