Live from #LA2015 with #TeamIreland – A Volunteer’s Diary

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An extended version of my diary article published in The Sunday Life newspaper on Sunday 9th August 2015.

 

Team Ireland depart for LA2015 from Dublin Airport. Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Team Ireland depart for LA2015 from Dublin Airport. Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

On 23rd July, 155 volunteers – myself included – flew out to Los Angeles to support Team Ireland at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games (LA2015). Ten days later we returned, changed forever by our experience on the front line with our incredible Team Ireland athletes, coaches, families and fellow volunteers.

Supported by a 40-strong coaching and management team, an army of volunteers and over 300 family members, 88 athletes – including 12 from Ulster – achieved incredible success. Coming home with a haul of 82 medals (26 Gold, 28 Silver and 28 Bronze), 41 Place Ribbons and 31 Personal Bests, our athletes inspired and enthralled supporters at home and abroad during their two weeks at the World Summer Games, which have been heralded as one of the most successful ever for Team Ireland.

 

Team Ireland Media Mob

Team Ireland Media Mob

The Media Mob – Telling the Team Ireland Story
Team Ireland’s massive volunteer team was made up of 155 amazing people of all ages, from every corner of the island. You often hear the words ‘Games Makers’ when volunteer driven sports events of this kind are mentioned and LA2015 was no different. From the volunteer management and logistics team to stewarding at events and managing the presentation of Awards, Team Ireland’s volunteers really made the Special Olympics World Games in LA.

My own role was in the Team Ireland Media Team or ‘The Media Mob’ as we quickly became known. The mob featured a team of 14 volunteers who are amongst the most committed and dedicated people I’ve met. We had roving Team Ireland reporters in each competition venue that really got under the skin of the Games, seeking out and reporting incredible stories about our athletes, coaches, families and volunteers. The buzz they generated on social media, the content they created and the assistance they gave to media played a vital role in getting the word out about Team Ireland at LA2015. There are too many of them to mention individually here but you will see most of them pictured above and if you follow my twitter feed – you’re bound to see an exchange or two there.

Media HuddleBack in the media centre, we had volunteers collating Team Ireland results and tracking social media mentions, whilst I worked as part of a core team with Special Olympics Ireland’s Fiona Hynes (PR & Communications Manager) and Pamela Kavanagh (E-Marketing Manager) and Team Leader Brian O’Callaghan to distil the information down into daily press releases and social media highlights, whilst handling media enquiries.

In addition to sending Team Ireland reports to media back home and responding to their queries, we also worked with traveling media, including Today FM‘s Ian Dempsey Show; RTÉ‘s Caitriona Perry; Kevin Doyle from The Irish Independent; and Newstalk’s Henry McKean. The enthusiasm and dedication they all showed to unearthing great Team Ireland stories was incredible and the daily reports they filed helped those watching, listening and reading at home feel they were truly part of the LA2015 action.

Putting Newstalk's Henry McKean through his paces.

Putting Newstalk’s Henry McKean through his paces.

I also had the opportunity to put my old journalistic skills to good use, conducting interviews with athletes, families, Special Olympics staff and supporters, creating  audio and video content for media at home. And aside from one instance – where I christened myself ‘Shaky Sinead’ whilst filming some video footage with a dose of mild heat stoke – I got through the process relatively unscathed.

 

 

The time difference in LA – eight hours behind – meant there were a lot of very late nights and early mornings but the resulting coverage made it all worthwhile.

Sportsfile's Ray McManus and Paul Mohan with Kevin Doyle from The Irish Independent, keeping on the right side of the Armed Forces!

Sportsfile’s Ray McManus and Paul Mohan with Kevin Doyle from The Irish Independent, keeping on the right side of the Armed Forces!

Picture Perfect

As important as our daily press releases and content were, pictures and video played a vital role and were a major part of the Team Ireland output. Out on the field, day in, day out, the legend that is World Games veteran Ray McManus of Sportsfile captured so many magic moments throughout the Games  – a select few of which you will see pictured in this post. His stunning photographs told the story of LA2015 so powerfully and resulted in countless front pages and amazing pictorial coverage for Team Ireland. Meanwhile his colleague, Paul Mohan‘s moving videos also travelled far and wide – on television and online – delving further still into the Team Ireland LA2015 stories and capturing many special moments.

My LA2015 Highlights & Some Notable Results from Team Ireland Ulster Athletes

2015-07-25 20.33.56Opening Ceremony

Colin Farrell with Team Ireland athletes during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Summer Games. LA Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, United States. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Colin Farrell with Team Ireland athletes during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Summer Games. LA Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, United States. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

A trio of well-known Irish stars joined Team Ireland for the official parade of athletes at the Opening Ceremony on Saturday 25th July 2015. John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council, who won a historic silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, was joined by actor Colin Farrell, a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics movement and Claudine Keane, wife of Irish football captain, Robbie Keane (the Keanes are ambassadors for Team Ireland).

Colin and Claudine showed such kindness to the athletes, spending relished time with them ahead of walking them out to a star-studded Opening Ceremony at the impressive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. As volunteers, we watched on proudly from the nose-bleed section of the stands, as the athletes made their way out, enjoying the great celebration that had been laid on in their honour, with performances by Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne and Nicole Scherzinger and a rousing address from First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. View the pictures here.

 

Day One

27 July 2015; Team Ireland's Sarah Jane Johnston from Lurgan, Co Armagh, celebrates winning a Bronze Medal in 100M backstroke. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

27 July 2015; Team Ireland’s Sarah Jane Johnston from Lurgan, Co Armagh, celebrates winning a Bronze Medal in 100M backstroke. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

As the first day of competition got under way, Team Ireland got off to a great start, winning three medals – one Silver and two Bronze, with a host of Personal Bests achieved. The first medal of the Games was clinched by Co. Armagh swimmer, Sarah Jane Johnston, who won Bronze in the 100m backstroke. View Day One pictures here.

Day Two
Day two of the competition saw further success in the pool for Sarah Jane Johnston (35) from Lurgan, Co Armagh. Talented Sarah Jane took home a second Bronze medal after finishing third in the 100M Freestyle, bringing Team Ireland’s medal haul to four. See the pictures here.

Me and fellow Team Ireland media volunteer, Brian McGuigan from Dungiven with Belfast Team Ireland gymnast, Kirsty Devlin and her two Gold and Silver medals won at LA2015.

Me and fellow Team Ireland media volunteer, Brian McGuigan from Dungiven with Belfast Team Ireland gymnast, Kirsty Devlin and her two Gold and Silver medals won at LA2015.

Day Three
Team Ireland’s first gold was won by 21 year old gymnast Kirsty Devlin from Belfast on day three and I was honoured to be there to see Kirsty receive her medals and meet her family afterwards. Kirsty from the Shankill in Belfast– who received a fantastic homecoming celebration last week – won an incredible total of four medals: two Gold and two Silver, as well as a fourth place ribbon in various sections of the Gymnastics Rhythmic Level 1 competition. At the end of day three, Team Ireland’s medal tally climbed to an impressive 15.

Day Four

Team Ireland's Dearbhail Savage from Mowhan, Co Armagh riding 'Pepper' at LA2015. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Team Ireland’s Dearbhail Savage from Mowhan, Co Armagh riding ‘Pepper’ at LA2015. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Team Ireland’s winning streak continued on day four with a further seven medals won across Equestrian, Athletics and Table Tennis events. At the LA Equestrian Centre, Team Ireland enjoyed a hugely successful day with four medals captured in English Equitation over the course of the day, with a Gold won by 15-year-old Dearbhail Savage from Mowhan, Co. Armagh –Team Ireland’s youngest athlete.

One of my fellow Media Team volunteers, Niamh Withers, captured an incredible video of the moment Déarbháil and her family were told she won Gold. She was being interviewed by Today FM’s Ian Dempsey at the time and the resulting reaction – alive with unscripted and unplanned emotion – was absolutely priceless. As soon I saw it, I knew Niamh had captured a magic moment. We uploaded the video on Facebook and shared it with Today FM; it went viral within hours. It remains one of my stand-out moments of the Games. Watch the video below.

 

Being present at Mullingar Bocce athlete, Peter Malynn’s Gold medal presentation in the Los Angeles Convention Centre on day four is something I will never forget. The atmosphere was absolutely electric, with a huge crowd of Team Ireland supporters turning out to cheer him on. If you could bottle the feeling of pride and joy in the room that day – and at all of Team Ireland’s medal presentations – you’d be set for life.

Team Ireland's Nuala Browne from Strabane, Co Tyrone, celebrates after winning her first Silver Medal with Nicola Higgins, from Coolock, Dublin, who finished 5th in the Kayaking at Long Beach. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Team Ireland’s Nuala Browne from Strabane, Co Tyrone, celebrates after winning her first Silver Medal with Nicola Higgins, from Coolock, Dublin, who finished 5th in the Kayaking at Long Beach. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Day Five

The Team Ireland medal rush showed no signs of slowing on day five, with a stunning 11 medals won across various sports. At the end of the day, the tally stood at a total of 33 medals. There was more success in the Ulster camp, with a double medal whammy for Special Olympics Ulster Team Ireland athletes: in Table Tennis, Newtownabbey’s Carole Catling took Gold, whilst at Long Beach, Nuala Browne from Strabane, Co. Tyrone won Silver in 500M Kayaking. View the Day Five pictures here.

 

Me and fellow Team Ireland media volunteer Suzanne Hamilton from Bangor with NI boxing legend, Wayne McCullough.

Me and fellow Team Ireland media volunteer Suzanne Hamilton from Bangor with NI boxing legend, Wayne McCullough.

Day Six

NI boxing legend, Wayne McCullough visited LA2015 on day six and I had the pleasure of taking Wayne, his wife Cheryl and daughter Wynona to see Team Ireland in competition at USC. Cheering on from the stands of Loker Stadium in the midst of a jubilant Team Ireland crowd, Wayne witnessed Dundalk athlete, James Meenan win Gold in the 100M. Christening him the ‘Junior Pocket Rocket’ after his incredible performance, Wayne was on hand to present James with his Gold medal. He then joined Team Ireland’s Acquatics team – including Co. Armagh double silver medallist Sarah Jane Johnston – to cheer on their teammate Sean Coleman from Co. Cork in the pool, as he raced to win Silver in the 25M freestyle. Giving a huge boost to Team Ireland athletes, including the 11 and 5 A Side football teams, Wayne proved a hit as he took time to pose for photos with his signature fist punch pose.

On the penultimate day of the Games, Team Ireland had its best day’s performance ever, winning a staggering 37 medals in one day – more than the previous five days combined. Ulster athletes were to the fore once again. Nuala Browne from Strabane, Co. Tyrone won her second Silver in 200m Kayaking; Sean Campbell from Coleraine won Silver in Bowling Singles; Co. Armagh’s Déarbháil Savage won her second medal with a Silver in Equestrian Woking Trails; Jill Connery from Scarva, Co. Armagh secured Silver in golf (Level 2 Alternate Shot), along with her playing partner, Ursula McDonnell from Belfast, Co. Antrim; and Oliver Doherty from Buncrana, Co. Donegal also clinched Silver in Golf (18 holes). See pictures from Day Six here.

Day Seven
On the final day of the World Games, Team Ireland’s medal haul climbed to an incredible 82, with athletes achieving a grand total of 26 Gold, 28 Silver and 28 Bronze medals; 41 Placement Ribbons and 31 individual Personal Bests. Ulster Team Ireland athletes continued to blaze a trail, with Donegal gymnast, Patrick Quinlivan winning one Silver, three Bronze and three 4th Place Ribbons; 15 year-old Co. Armagh Equestrian athlete, Déarbháil Savage brought her personal tally to three medals, helping to secure a Gold in the Equestrian Team Relay. The Team Ireland ladies basketball team put in a huge performance, beating Mexico by 19 points to 17 points to win Gold. Having seen one their high octane and truly nail-biting performances when they beat Ecuador earlier in the week, I can personally vouch that their Gold was exceptionally well deserved. View Day Seven pictures here.

Driving Support for Special Olympics

21 July 2015; Back L-R: Ulster Team Ireland athletes, Sean Campbell from Coleraine (10-pin bowling); Jill Connery from Scarva, Co. Armagh & Ursula McDonnell from Belfast (golf); coach, Roisin Henry; Ulster athletes, Oliver Doherty from Buncrana, Co. Donegal (golf); Patrick Quinlivan from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (gymnastics) & families coordinator, Angela McGee. Front L-R: Ulster Team Ireland athletes, Christopher Kane from Lisburn, Co. Down (football); Peter Fitzpatrick from Ballynahinch, Co. Down (football); Déarbhail Savage from Mowhan, Co. Armagh (equestrian); Nuala Brown from Strabane, Co. Tyrone (kayaking); Carol Catling from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim (table tennis) with Aer Lingus crew ahead of departing for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, United States. Terminal 2, Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

21 July 2015; Back L-R: Ulster Team Ireland athletes, Sean Campbell from Coleraine (10-pin bowling); Jill Connery from Scarva, Co. Armagh & Ursula McDonnell from Belfast (golf); coach, Roisin Henry; Ulster athletes, Oliver Doherty from Buncrana, Co. Donegal (golf); Patrick Quinlivan from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (gymnastics) & families coordinator, Angela McGee. Front L-R: Ulster Team Ireland athletes, Christopher Kane from Lisburn, Co. Down (football); Peter Fitzpatrick from Ballynahinch, Co. Down (football); Déarbhail Savage from Mowhan, Co. Armagh (equestrian); Nuala Brown from Strabane, Co. Tyrone (kayaking); Carol Catling from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim (table tennis) with Aer Lingus crew ahead of departing for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, United States. Terminal 2, Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Special Olympics is a charity that needs constant investment and funding in order to continue to provide its grassroots sports and athlete development programmes in towns and cities right across the island of Ireland. Working with Special Olympics Ireland in the Ulster region at MCE Public Relations over the last four years, I have seen first-hand the incredibly positive impact this charity has and World Games is just a small part of what Special Olympics does.

In Ulster alone, 85 clubs provide life-changing sports opportunities to over 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities on a year-round basis, supported by a network of almost 6,000 volunteers and over 970 coaches. Not all of these athletes get the chance to compete on a world stage but each and every one of them benefits from inclusion in the Special Olympics family – a community that celebrates their individual abilities and helps to build vital social skills in a world where they aren’t always understood.

 

 

Me with members of the Team Ireland Media Mob

Me with members of the Team Ireland Media Mob

LA2015 Legacy
As volunteers we started out as 155 strangers. By the end of our 10 days in LA, lasting friendships have been formed with people from every corner of the island. It’s an unbreakable bond that was developed through our collective Special Olympics World Games journey – the most incredible, inspiring, joyous and ultimately indescribable experience.

Watching each of our athletes strive to do their best, we had the privileged position of watching them as they became heroes right in front of our eyes. It was intense, exhausting and often emotional but absolutely incredible and unforgettable.

A week on since leaving Los Angeles, I still feel myself welling up, as well as an immense sense of pride when I see the impact the 2015 World Games has had. The incredible media coverage and support back home means so much to Team Ireland athletes, their families, friends, communities, clubs, volunteers and even complete strangers.

A selection of the coverage and countless front pages following Team Ireland's homecoming

A selection of the coverage and countless front pages following Team Ireland’s homecoming

In a taxi in Belfast this week, the driver – totally unprompted and without knowing I was a volunteer – asked me if I’d heard how well our Special Olympians did out in LA. That about sums it up; Team Ireland’s success has impacted us all and is a reminder that when we celebrate ability, rather than focusing on disability, we level the playing field.

I hope that the legacy of these Games will be that long after the celebrations settle down, people that have been inspired by Team Ireland’s incredible success at LA2015 will be driven to support Special Olympics in the future.

Team Ireland’s story will continue long after LA2015. Find out how you can get involved and support Special Olympics Ireland and local Ulster athletes at www.specialolympics.ie

Follow Special Olympics on twitter @SOIreland & @SO_Ulster and on Facebook: Special Olympics Ireland & Special Olympics Ulster

A MASSIVE final thank you to everyone that contributed to my fundraising efforts, helping me to take up my position as a Team Ireland volunteer at LA2015. It was a once in a lifetime experience; this post only really scratches the surface. I couldn’t have done it without you and your support means the world. Thank you.

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SILVER AWARD FOR THE GREAT ULSTER PUB WEEK

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PRide Awards_MCEIt’s been a busy few months. What I term PR’s crazy season is well and truly in full swing and there’s little time for much else at this all-consuming time of year. I’ve a number of half-formed blog posts to finish and upload when things quieten down a little – so stay tuned for a plethora of updates when I catch my breath.

In the meantime, a little news. On Friday, I was proud to accept a silver award for our campaign for Pubs of Ulster‘s inaugural Great Ulster Pub Week at the CIPR NI PRide Awards – the premier annual awards for the Northern Ireland PR industry. The award – in the Integrated Campaign category – means a lot to me and the whole MCE consumer team; it was a massive but hugely rewarding project and one we’re all very proud of.

It was also an honour to present an award on behalf of the CIPR NI committee – congratulations to Barnardo’s NI on their Gold award in the Low Budget category for their Children: The Forgotten Victims of Crime campaign – very deserving winners indeed.

It was great to see such a diverse cross section of the industry represented and rewarded at PRide, with  winners from across the entire spectrum – agencies small and large, freelance practitioners and in-house PR teams.

The full list of results and case studies from the winners are now available to view online here.

For our own part, it was particularly pleasing to be recognised for our work on The Great Ulster Pub Week in the highly competitive Integrated Campaign category. PR is no longer just about press releases and media relations – though those elements of our work will continue to be very important, our campaigns now increasingly span the entire marketing mix, taking in advertising, digital, social and events alongside traditional PR.

In the same spirit of information sharing demonstrated by The CIPR in providing case studies on each of the Gold PRide winners, I’d like to provide a further insight into the work that went in to our Great Ulster Pub Week campaign. I hope it’s useful.

 

pub-logo-webThe Great Ulster Pub Week 2014

The inaugural Great Ulster Pub Week was launched by industry body, Pubs of Ulster in May 2014. Created to develop a positive platform to celebrate all that’s great about Northern Ireland’s pubs, it was the largest ever multi-venue pub celebration ever seen in Northern Ireland, with over 160 participating pubs.

Pubs of Ulster engaged with MCE to create a fully integrated marketing plan to inform and inspire consumers across Northern Ireland to rediscover their local pub.

The Key objectives were:
• To communicate the positive, socio-economic contribution of the NI pub industry to the general public/key stakeholders and move dialogue away from pub closures and alcohol misuse/abuse.
• To drive footfall and sales in participating Northern Ireland pubs.
• To encourage publicans to be proactive and to think more objectively about their business/try new things and upskill publicans to create a lasting legacy for growth.

10293703_292051327630872_5284027009854569225_oStrategy & tactics:

To inspire the public to rediscover their local pubs, we worked with Pubs of Ulster to engage with publicans and create a programme of activity that would attract consumers:

• A handbook with advice on how to make the most of their involvement in The Great Ulster Pub week was created with a wide range of advice and tips on how to run successful Pub Week events, empowering publicans.
• Pubs were encouraged to think outside the box to create exciting and unusual events to excite and entice customers. Right across Northern Ireland, pubs showcased the best food, entertainment, arts, crafts and craic in a jam-packed nine days full of exciting events.
• Social media training workshops and World Host Customer Service training was offered to all participating pubs, effectively upskilling publicans and greatly increasing the social media footprint of NI pubs and the Great Ulster Pub Week campaign.
• The campaign went beyond traditional media, engaging with bloggers and influencers to create shareable content.
• A series of pop-up Pub Week events were created including a touring caricature artist and magician, plus a one-off show with well-known mentalist/illusionist, David Meade, bringing a sense of theatre and occasion to the pub experience.

Implementation

MCE devised, planned and managed an integrated PR, media relations, advertising, marketing, events and social media campaign, with the thrust of activity taking place in the month from the launch event on Thursday 3rd April 2014 through until the end of The Great Ulster Pub Week, which ran 1-9 May 2014.

The following media, influencer and consumer engagement tactics were implemented over a period of around six weeks:

• The campaign launched a month ahead of Pub Week with a launch party that attracted 200 people including media, bloggers, publicans, sponsors and suppliers, creating massive talkability, with hundreds of tweets and Facebook posts.
• Highly valuable media partnership with NI’s number one commercial radio stations, Downtown Radio/Cool FM was brokered, which delivered a high impact promotional package encompassing over 200 30-second promotional spots/live reads; roadshows and street crew support for two separate Pub Week events; a two-hour live outside broadcast from the Great Ulster Pub Week World Record Attempt Pub Quiz; dedicated Great Ulster Pub Week microsites on Downtown & Cool FM websites; interviews, competitions; on air talk time and social media endorsements from the stations and their key presenters.
• The website, GreatUlsterPubWeek.com was updated with key events highlight, news, a promotional video and in the build up to and during Pub Week on social media to encourage interaction.
• Press promotions ran in national and regional print & online media for readers to win a £50 meal voucher for a pub of their choice encouraging interaction/talkability about the project.

The Results

With a very short lead-in period, we took The Great Ulster Pub Week from an embryonic idea into a campaign that engaged 160 local pubs (60% higher than the initial target of 100 pubs) to create the largest multi-venue pub celebration ever seen in Northern Ireland. The campaign successfully opened dialogue about the positive socio-economic and cultural contributions of NI pubs, moving the conversation away from negative news of pub closures/teenage binge drinking.

A post-event survey showed that 55% of participating pubs surveyed saw up an increase of up to 10% in footfall during Pub Week, with a further 15% reporting footfall increases of up to a 20%. Some 75% of participating pubs said they saw an increase in turnover during Pub Week; 77% of participating pubs ran a brand new event especially for Pub Week; and 85% of the pubs said they would take part again. All partners, sponsors and suppliers have also said they would like to be involved again in 2015.

  • Pubs reported that they attracted new customers as a direct result of events they ran.
  • At least 378 positive media articles/broadcast mentions were achieved (excluding social media), communicating the varied events programme and pubs taking part, spanning over 40 titles/stations including national and regional print media, television, websites, blogs and radio.
  • The media partnership with Downtown/Cool FM proved to be an exceptionally positive and high impact promotional platform. The advertising and promotional elements of the campaign reached a combined audience of approximately 2,193,263 people, with the editorial elements estimated to have reached a further 217,090 people. The two hour live broadcast from the Great Ulster Pub Week World Record Quiz attempt was priceless, reaching 31,000 people. Additional partnerships with The Sunday Life and Hospitality Review NI provided further positive coverage.
  • A modest first year advertising budget was supplemented by securing free advertising spots including a presence for The Great Ulster Pub Week on Jameson Irish Whiskey and West Coast Cooler outdoor campaigns.

SEEING RED FOR BLOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

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Support Blood Cancer Awareness MonthEvery day three people are diagnosed with a blood cancer in Northern Ireland. For particular age groups the survival rates are still low.

Local charity, Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI has been supporting research in Northern Ireland for almost 50 years, with the aim of finding the cause and cure of Leukaemia and other blood cancers.

This September, MCE is joining forces with Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI to raise awareness of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, which the charity is introducing to Northern Ireland for the first time.

To boost awareness, the public are being asked to support Blood Cancer Awareness Month by wearing red clothes, taking a selfie and posting it to Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag, #REDHERO.

To support the beginning of the campaign, the MCE team donned their best red threads this morning and a host of well-known local faces are primed to do the same.

And it’s not just our clothes that are turning red this September. Belfast City Hall, Victoria Square’s dome and The Great Hall at Parliament Buildings are just some of the iconic Northern Ireland landmarks that will be lit red to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month (keep your eyes peeled on 10th September).

The public are also being asked to show their support for research into blood cancers by donating to Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI: Text SEPT14 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.

Follow Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI on Twitter and Facebook and keep an eye on the #REDHERO hashtag for more information about Blood Cancer Awareness Month and how you can support research into blood cancers in Northern Ireland.

For media enquiries, please contact Alana Taylor, MCE Public Relations on 028 9026 7099/ email: alana@mcepublicrelations.com or tweet @AlanaCiao 

MCE SHORTLISTED FOR THREE INDUSTRY AWARDS

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CIPR NI PRIDE AWARDSMCE Public Relations has been shortlisted for three awards at Northern Ireland’s leading PR industry Awards.

More than 350 of the UK’s leading public relations teams, consultancies and individuals, including more than 40 in Northern Ireland have made the shortlists of the 2014 CIPR PRide Awards, the UK’s premier awards scheme that recognises excellence in public relations and communications work across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and six English regions.

MCE’s work on the re-brand of Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI has been shortlisted in the Not-For-Profit category.  Within this campaign, MCE oversaw the creation and design of a new brand identity, logo and website. Implementing an innovative and creative strategy for LLNI has helped raise awareness of the charity, increase donations and increase volunteer numbers.

The MCE team has also been recognised for its work on the inaugural Great Ulster Pub Week, having been shortlisted in the Integrated Campaign category. The fully integrated advertising, PR, marketing and events campaign was delivered in May 2014 by MCE for Pubs of Ulster. The Great Ulster Pub Week was the largest multi-venue pub festival ever seen in Northern Ireland and delivered on its key objectives to give consumers a reason to revisit the pub, whilst upskilling publicans and driving footfall and sales into participating pubs.

In the Public Affairs category, MCE has been shortlisted for its campaign ‘Knocking out Sectarianism and Racism in Boxing in Northern Ireland’. The MCE public affairs team worked with an Independent Working Group (IWG) to investigate sectarianism and racism in boxing in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the shortlist, Chris Love MCIPR Chair of the CIPR Northern Ireland group said: “This year we’ve had a record number of entries all of which were of an incredibly high standard, highlighting the industry-leading work that is taking place right across Northern Ireland. I would like to congratulate all of those who have been shortlisted for an award; their success demonstrates their exemplary achievements in our thriving profession.”

Winners will be announced at the gala award ceremony at the Culloden Estate & Spa on Friday 17 October 2014.