With a full summer of sport on the menu from the Euros, to Wimbledon and the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games, the Mary Peters Trust is urging people of all ages in the Coleraine and North Coast area to pick up the baton and raise some much needed cash to help support local sporting champions of the future.
Inspired by the Olympics, the Trust has launched a Northern Ireland wide community focused relay campaign branded #PasstheTorch to help the Trust get back on their fundraising track after the challenges of the last pandemic impacted 15 months.
Friday 2nd July, 12 noon to 2.30 pm in Portrush Town centre, is the first of four pop-up roadshows also visiting Enniskillen, Bangor and Belfast throughout the month of July.
Team ‘PasstheTorch’ will travel in a Charles Hurst supplied Jaguar I-Pace vehicle and are supported at each venue by Cool FM and Downtown Radio to help boost the campaign and raise awareness of how the Mary Peters Trust helps develop Northern Ireland’s future sporting stars. Downtown ‘Drive’ presenter Neal McClelland is host of the Portrush pop-up event. The roadshow also features competitions and giveaways from overall partner Power NI and an Oasis Travel 2022 getaway package set to be raffled at the roadshow.
Whilst keeping within current restrictions, Friday’s Portush leg of #PasstheTorch will throw a spotlight on local athletes and encourage more people to take up their own team challenge. Special guest is Swim Ireland competitor Paddy Johnston who recently qualified for the Senior European Championships in Budapest. Paddy, aged 19 has received development support from the Mary Peters Trust and will take up a scholarship at Ohio based Cleveland State University this summer.
The #PasstheTorch campaign is partnered by leading energy company Power NI, who is funding four up and coming young athletes as part of the campaign, #PasstheTorch is encouraging families, sport clubs, community groups, schools and businesses to get behind the Mary Peters Trust and have some fun by taking on a challenge of their choice anytime between 1st and 31st July 2021.
Mary Peters Trust Chair, Barry Funston explains the thinking behind the concept:
“In the past year many of us have taken up new hobbies and sports and are benefitting from a new love of exercise and the outdoors. So we’re asking people to be creative and think up a team challenge based around Mary’s Olympic gold medal winning jersey number – 111.
“It can be anything from skipping for 111 minutes, walking or running 11.1 km, cycling 11 miles or baking and selling 111 cookies. Your team can be any size and whatever your chosen sport, be it watersports, racquets, GAA, rugby or football – all ideas and mathematical combinations of 111 are very welcome. Funds raised will help develop the sporting talents of our young people enabling them to compete on a global stage, reach their full potential and in turn inspire future generations.
“Next year marks a very special anniversary as Lady Mary celebrates 50 years since her Olympic gold pentathlon achievement at Munich in 1972. Our summer 2021 #PasstheTorch relay challenge is the beginning of a year’s countdown to Mary’s 2022 ‘golden jubilee’ celebrations. We hope that many people throughout Northern Ireland enjoy picking up the torch on behalf of the Trust and have fun raising cash which will help us to pass on the benefits to our top young athletes and sports players.
“The Trust board wholeheartedly thanks Power NI for their extensive support of this new initiative. They’ve got our campaign out of its starting blocks with a £1,110 donation and we hope many other corporates will follow suit and generate cash by fielding and supporting relay teams.”
Gemma-Louise Bond, Senior Sponsorship & Events Executive at Power NI says, “We’ve been a partner of the Mary Peters Trust for several years and are thrilled to continue our link with a multifaceted package of support.
“Four young athletes from boxing, swimming, judo and track and field have been appointed as #PasstheTorch campaign ambassadors and their ongoing development and training is supported by Power NI. This takes the number of Trust athletes we have backed to ten young people.
“In addition to providing the campaign’s first donation we are also pledging £11 to the Mary Peters Trust for every household or person who switches to Power NI using the code MPT from 1st until 31st July 2021. We wish everyone the very best of luck and look forward to seeing lots of fabulous photos on social and online during the summer.”
To find out more about #PasstheTorch and to download a fundraising pack go to the campaign’s dedicated page at www.marypeterstrust.org. Everyone who gets involved is asked to share their challenges via Mary Peters Trust social pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @MaryPetersTrust and using the hashtags #passthetorch; #111relay; #marypeterstrust.