Northern Ireland news

Comedian Paddy Raff appeal to raise £30,000 for Special Olympics athletes

Comedian Paddy Raff launches the Special Olympics 'Collection Day' campaign with the help of Sophia Sloan from Belfast. Picture by Elaine Hill Photography

COMEDIAN Paddy Raff is appealing for the public's help to raise £30,000 for Special Olympics athletes.

The funds are needed to enable the charity to continue to support 1,811 children and adults living with an intellectual disability across Northern Ireland.

With all 59 of the charity’s clubs across the north closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Special Olympics has worked to develop new ways to keep its athletes physically and emotionally fit including virtual clubs, developing healthy eating recipes, live workouts and mindfulness techniques.

Comedian Paddy Raff is pictured with his sister Sarah at the recent launch of the Special Olympics Collection Day fundraising appeal. Picture by Elaine Hill Photography

For the second year running, its annual 'Collection Day' campaign, which culminates on May 28, will go virtual with money raised helping support its clubs and create additional material to keep athletes connected, until is safe for them to meet in person again.

The west Belfast comedian said: "The Special Olympics athletes are truly inspirational so, I’d like to ask the public to get on board and support the appeal - whether that’s by making a text or an online donation or organising a virtual fundraiser.

"All the money raised will go to the Special Olympics clubs so they can continue to do a fantastic job and offer a social and health lifeline to their athletes."

Sophia Sloan pictured with her father Chris and comedian Paddy Raff. Picture by Elaine Hill Photography

Chris Sloan's daughter Sophia (6) is an athlete at Titanic Tigers and knows first-hand the lifeline that Special Olympics Clubs provide.

"Sophia absolutely loves it - she’s learned fundamental skills like being able to catch and throw and has also made some great friends, which has helped to develop her social skills," he said.

"With the various virtual events running regularly to keep everyone connected, a real sense of community has been maintained during what’s been an incredibly challenging year."

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