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Warm-hearted Pamela takes an icy dip for charity in the waters at Ballyholme

By Matthew McCreary

Published 27/12/2006

Television star Pamela Ballantine joined dozens of other hardy souls in Co Down for an icy dip in aid of a good cause.

The UTV presenter braved the freezing waters at Ballyholme Yacht Club near Bangor yesterday to raise money for local charity SPARKS NI, of which she is a patron.

"We fund urgent medical research and the main one we're funding at the moment is research into the intensive care unit for premature babies at the Royal Victoria Hospital," she said.

The annual event - which is now in its 20th year - usually raises around £7,000 for charity, but Pamela and her fellow dippers are hoping to smash that with this year's total.

"I think there were about 70 people taking part," she said. " You're not allowed wetsuits or grease or anything, just swimming costumes only. "It's full immersion, so you have to throw yourself into the water and swim as far as you like or as little as you like - for most people it's as little as they like!"

She added: "It was very cold, but it was colder waiting to go into the water than actually being in the water. It helps to blow away the cobwebs after you've filled your face full of turkey!"

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