POPPY’S SWIM A DAY CHALLENGE

INTREPID nine year-old Poppy Hall will be embarking on ‘a sea dip a day’ challenge throughout April to raise funds for Bangor lifeboat.
This adventurous Towerview Primary School pupil is no stranger to charity fundraising having successfully completed a grueling triathlon challenge just two years ago.
This impressive youngster raised nearly £2,000 and was given a hero’s welcome as she paddled into Bangor Marina after she fished a 5km run, a 10km cycle and 7km paddle board along the coast.
Now this determined young girl is about to embark on her latest challenge of ‘a sea dip a day’ challenge on Saturday, April 1st, and will be joined by family, friends and even North Down and Ards Mayor Karen Douglas.
Her proud dad Jonny thanked the local community for the support his daughter received during her last challenge and hoped she would inspire others to improve their mental health.
The Kilcooley Primary School teacher said it has been two years since Poppy completed her triathlon to raise money for RNLI and the family couldn’t believe the amount of support and kindness from the community.
“She raised just under £2,000 in the end which was incredible,” he said. “We are well aware of the difficult financial climate right now so we haven’t put a target amount to reach.
“Beyond the fundraising, I hope Poppy can inspire more people to get out in the water in a safe way to help clear their minds, be more present, connect with other people and improve their overall mental health.
“Some of my P7 class from Kilcooley Primary School and their parents have agreed to join Poppy on some of her dips. The Mayor has also given me her word that she will join in too.”
Jonny explained the training Poppy had been undertaking in preparation for her challenge. “The sea temperature is still very cold in April so it is important to be aware of potential threats.
“She has been getting cold showers and doing some dips during winter to prepare for the challenge. It is unsafe for many people to jump in just in case you get cold water shock as your body isn’t used to the cold temperature. Poppy walks in while taking deep breaths so she prepares her body and mind.
“The first sea dip will take place on April 1st and she will dip every day during the month of April, regardless of weather conditions,” added Jonny.
“The main locations will be between Helen’s Bay and Millisle. If it is unsafe to dip in the sea due to weather conditions then we will choose a safe location, potentially in fresh water. She loved going to Larne’s Glenoe Waterfall in February and she said she wants to get back again.”
A cold water immersion enthusiast, Jonny extolled the many physical and mental benefits. “The main one for me is that as soon as you put your body in the cold sea, your thoughts empty from your mind and you only focus on the present. You have no choice.
“Once your shoulders go beneath the surface it literally takes your breath away – euphoria. I love seeing Poppy push herself out of her comfort zone and get that feeling.
“I am very lucky to have some close friends and colleagues that enjoy dipping so we would go regularly together. Our favourite dips are during sunrise.”
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Karen Douglas, has praised Poppy for embarking on her latest challenge.
“I am so proud of Poppy for embarking on this challenge throughout April,” said the Mayor.
“The RNLI is such a worthy cause and I hope that lots of people from near and far come out to support her. I hope to get the opportunity throughout the month to come down and join Poppy on one of her sea dips.”