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Special Olympics Flame of Hope coming to Invercargill

Special Olympics Flame of Hope coming to Invercargill

Southland police will join local celebrities and some of the region’s top Special Olympics athletes on Saturday to carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope through Invercargill’s Queen’s Park.

The event signifies the beginning of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), which will see torches relayed from each end of New Zealand to Wellington – the venue for the 2017 Special Olympics National Summer Games.

Similar in style to the Olympic torch relay, the LETR is a series of runs and fundraising events that raise awareness and money for the Special Olympics movement. Globally more than 90,000 police professionals and supporters across 35 countries participate in Law Enforcement Torch runs.

“The LETR is one of the highlights of major Special Olympics events, and this year we are excited that the torches will travel to all regions and clubs taking part in the National Summer Games,” said Kathy Gibson, Chief Executive of Special Olympics New Zealand.

The Southland leg will begin at 12.15pm at Queens Park’s Herbert St Gate. Southland police and Special Olympics athletes will carry the Flame of Hope through the park to the Feldwick Gates, accompanied by family and localcelebrities including radio personalities Liv McBride and James McRobie from The Hits.

Ms Gibson said that in addition to raising awareness of Special Olympics in New Zealand, the LETR also helped to promote and support Special Olympics’ Athlete Leadership Programme (ALPs) – a programme that aims to provide athletes with the tools and experiences to become leaders in their own right and to speak for themselves.

“The support of the New Zealand Police and other service personnel is hugely valued and we look forward to taking to the streets with them as we move throughout the country,” she said.

Inspector Mark Harrison, of Palmerston North, is Director of LETR NZ. “Once again we are delighted to be able to support the build up to the National Summer games. Law Enforcement staff are proud to run alongside the athletes through our communities as the “Flame of Hope” makes its way to the Games in Wellington.

The Flame represents so much of what policing is about – it stands for hope, courage, opportunity, inspiration and equality.”

The Southland leg of the LETR is one of 31 torch run events taking place throughout New Zealand in the lead-up to the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Wellington. More than 1,300 athletes from 42 Special Olympics Clubs and three schools will take part in this year’s Games, which will take place from 27 November to 1 December.

Held every four years, the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games is the largest event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand. The Games are run by Special Olympics New Zealand, which provides a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It is a different organisation to Paralympics New Zealand, which supports people with physical disabilities to compete in elite international para sport events.


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