St Albans' Polar Bear Plunge will be cold comfort for the New Year

PUBLISHED: 13:29 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:29 13 December 2017

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJen

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJen

DigitalJen 2017

Are you cool enough to start 2018 with a daring dive into the icy waters of an unheated outdoor pool - all in aid of three key local charities?

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJenPolar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJen

Hardy volunteers are needed to take part in the third St Albans Polar Bear Plunge, held at the St Albans Sub Aqua Club pool on Cottonmill Lane on January 1.

Past events have raised thousands of pounds for charities, with this year’s recipients set to be Earthworks St Albans, Rennie Grove Hospice Care and Home-Start Herts.

Previous plucky plungers have been aged from five to 67, many in fancy dress, and all receive a warming hot chocolate, a medal and some treats.

Spectators can enjoy hot refreshements, musical entertaiment, a bar and a raffle, ensuring St Albans’ first big event of 2018 kicks off the New Year in style.

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJenPolar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJen

Organiser Clare Suttie said: “We’re looking forward to Plunge 2018. I’m sure the ice will have melted, although there may not be a tropical heatwave! This will be the third annual plunge and already the community are showing their support and getting their fancy dress ready.

“We are expecting a good few teams this year - and not just sports ones like the ladies hockey team we had - the Lower Red Lion have assured me they are sending a team.

“Of course our focus is fundraising - and all ticket sales and money taken on the day is split between the three fabulous charities. 2017 saw thousands of pounds additionally raised for charities chosen by the plungers, such as MIND and we encourage more of this so that the fundraising amount ripples even further.”

Earthworks St Albans is a unique and inspirational charity that supports people with learning disabilities by providing meaningful work experience and training in horticultural and land-based skills in an inclusive environment. Their 3.5 acre site in Hixberry Lane, St Albans is managed using environmentally sustainable principles and boasts a number of production, ornamental and wildlife spaces.

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJenPolar Bear Plunge 2017 - Jenny Smith @ DigitalJen

Project leader Bianca Badham said: “Earthworks is delighted to be selected as a beneficiary of the Polar Bear Plunge! This is a fantastic community event and a great way to see in the New Year with a splash.”

Rennie Grove senior community fundraiser Gemma Bateman said: “Rennie Grove Hospice Care provides care and support to local adults and children with cancer and other life-limiting illness and their families.

“Through a 24/7 responsive hospice at home service and support services for carers and family members, the charity makes it possible for patients to choose to stay at home surrounded by their families and friends, something that is especially important at Christmas.

“Eighty-seven per cent of the money needed to run the service every year is generously donated by the local community by supporting fundraising activities such as the Polar Bear Plunge.”

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - pictures by Phil BamgboyePolar Bear Plunge 2017 - pictures by Phil Bamgboye

And Suzy Moody, strategic manager at Home-Start added: “The Polar Bear Plunge is a great event that over the last two years has raised an amazing amount for various charities, so it is great that Home-Start Herts have been chosen as one of the charities this year.

“I will definitely be taking the plunge on behalf of Home-Start, although I don’t think Clare actually gave me a choice about that!”

For a refreshing start to your 2018, grab your tickets now - or gift some to a plucky pal - or just come along and show your support as a super spectator. See Polar Bear Plunge St Albans 2018 on Facebook, take a look at http://www.polarbearplunge.org.uk/ for more details, or contact the Polar Bear PA on suttieclare@gmail.com

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