St Albans Polar Bear Plunge smashes records for fundraising and attendance
- Credit: Archant
Brave fundraisers kick-started 2019 by braving a very cold plunge and raising almost £10,000.
About 500 people turned up to watch and take part in the fourth annual St Albans Polar Bear Plunge on New Years Day, which sees plucky jumpers leap into the 6C waters of the Sub Aqua Club outdoor pool on Cottonmill Lane.
The event was in aid of The OLLIE Foundation (One Life Lost Is Enough), Earthworks St Albans, and The Counselling Foundation, as well as the plunger’s own sponsorship causes.
It has smashed records by raising £9,600, and organiser Clare Suttie hopes the total can reach £10,000 in a final push.
She said: “It has blown [last year’s fundraising total] out of the water. I just think the St Albans community is amazing and everyone has been blown away by support for the event and amazing atmosphere there.”
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Clare believes the knitted post box toppers, which decorated Royal Mail letter boxes around St Albans, helped to raise the event’s profile.
It is the final year Clare will be organising the event since it was set up by husband Ed in 2016, who was raising funds for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Earthworks St Albans and Cancer Research UK with a trip to the North Pole.
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She is taking a step back because the family now live in Devon.
Clare said: “It is quite a big thing for us to do, and while we love it, it’s a massive thing to arrange.
“But I am hoping other charities will take it on and continue to run this amazing event and raise lots of money in the community.”
Some plungers took the dive in fancy dress - including as the Baywatch team, who rescued an inflatable friend called Tony, Snow White, Batman, a penguin, a couple of Santas, and the Blues Brothers.
Food was supplied by Shot on the Spot and music was provided by Melanie Wall and Paul Davis.
Lifeguards Abbi and Joe kept everyone safe, jumping in themselves in at the end.
The OLLIE Foundation coordinator, Verity Bramwell, said: “The 2019 Plunge saw, in the grand scheme of things, practically tropical weather for the brave jumpers. But far more than that, it saw a community atmosphere that was magical to be a part of.
“It really was a fundraiser for all the family and we can’t thank everyone that helped make it happen enough.”
Visit www.polarbearplunge.org.uk to find out more.