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Take the plunge for Action Medical Research at Boxing Day swim

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Hardy supporters of children’s charity Action Medical Research will be taking the plunge on Boxing Day to help save and change the lives of sick and disabled babies and children.

The annual swim on Monday, 26 December, at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor will see dozens of robust residents brave the elements for a swift dip in the Irish Sea.

Last year’s Boxing Day swim raised more than £4,000 for the children’s charity, which is currently funding a project at the University of Ulster to help children in special schools to overcome vision problems.

Swimmers are invited to gather at 10.45am for a brisk 11am swim - there will be hot food and hot toddies available and all the family are welcome to take part.  

“We’d love people to put our brilliant Boxing Day swim in the calendar and turn up to renew old friendships or make new ones while supporting a very worthy cause,” says Jenny Scullion, Action Medical Research’s Community Fundraising Manager for the region.

“Our participants have been fantastic at raising money over the years so this year we are asking everyone to raise a minimum of £10 as a donation. Please make a special effort to collect as much sponsorship as possible this year: we are currently funding some truly inspiring research projects and we want to continue to make a difference to the lives of so many babies and children.

“Not many sporting events recommend that you eat lots over the festive season but we certainly do! The hot tip again for this year is to wear shoes as it makes the experience all the more pleasant and, as usual, pregnancy is the only excuse for avoiding participation.”

For more than 60 years Action Medical Research has helped pioneer treatments and ways to prevent disease that have benefited millions of people in the UK and across the world. Research they’ve funded has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound in pregnancy, fight meningitis and prevent stillbirths.

Action Medical Research is currently funding research into meningitis, Down syndrome, epilepsy and premature birth, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

Among the research it is funding is a study at Ulster University led by Professor Kathryn Saunders. More than 100,000 children and young people attend special schools in the UK1-4 and they are more likely than other children to have vision problems, but evidence suggests their problems often go unrecognised and untreated5.

Professor Saunders is investigating the benefits of assessing children’s vision within the familiar environment of their school, sharing the test results clearly with parents, teachers and other people in the children’s lives, and recommending ways to tackle children’s problems in the hope of improving the lives of children and their families.

For more information on the Boxing Day swim, please visit  



  1. GOV.UK. Official Statistics. Children with special educational needs: an analysis – 2014. Table LA1.8. Special schools: Number and percentage of pupils with statements of SEN or at School Action Plus by type of need. Website accessed 10 January 2016.
  2. Statistics & Research Team. Department of Education. Statistical Bulletin 8/2015. Annual enrolments at grant-aided schools in Northern Ireland 2015/16: Basic provisional statistics. Figure 2 - Enrolments in special schools and funded pre-school education in Northern Ireland 2006/07 - 2015/16. 10 December 2015 Website accessed 10 January 2016.
  3. Welsh Government. Statistics for Wales. School census results, 2015. Table 3: Number of pupils, by age group in maintained schools, January 2011-2015 (a). 23 July 2015. accessed 10 January 2016.
  4. The Scottish Government. Summary statistics for schools in Scotland - No. 6: 2015 Edition. Table 2.1: Schools, pupils, teachers and pupil teacher ratios (PTR) for all publicly funded schools by school sector, 2008 to 2015. Website accessed 10 January 2016.
  5. Das M et al. Evidence that children with special needs all require visual assessment. Arch Dis Child 2010; 95: 888-92.


To download a high-res image of the Boxing Day swim, please click on the link below:



For more information on Action Medical Research, please contact Ellie Evans, Fundraising Communications Officer, on:

T 01403 327480



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Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research. For more than 60 years we’ve helped pioneer ways to prevent disease and develop treatments benefiting millions of people. Our research has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound, fight meningitis and prevent stillbirths. But we urgently need to develop more new treatments and cures for sick babies and children and we can’t do it without you.

Join our fight for little lives today.

Charity reg. nos 208701 and SC039284.