London donors respond without ever swinging a club!

London, ON – For the past 15 years Special Olympics Ontario has been the beneficiary of one of the best run golf tournaments in the province.  Organized annually as an event under the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics umbrella, the tournament has been a consistent top fundraiser in Ontario, raising $396,000 since it began in 2006.

The LETR is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser worldwide for Special Olympics. Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics State, Provincial, National and World Games.  Additionally, over $50 Million was raised in 2019 globally at local, grassroots fundraisers benefitting Special Olympics.

The London Police Service (LPS) have been active members and leaders for over 30 years in Ontario, raising funds and hosting events such as Special Olympics Canada National Games in 2010. “The fundraising has been remarkable but the leadership of people like (Ret) Chief Murray Faulkner, (Ret) Sgt. Derek Spence and incoming Torch Run National Director Sgt. Mark McGugan has been very notable,” states Glenn MacDonell, President and CEO of Special Olympics Ontario.

With the pandemic among us and no way to the conduct the tournament safely, Superintendent Bill Merrylees, who has served as the Chair of the committee since its inception, felt something needed to be done. What started out as an effort to raise $5,000 turned out to be a magnificent illustration of a community caring.

“I’m really at a loss for words. When we approached our annual sponsors and donors, we couldn’t have imagined how generous the response would be. It really makes me proud to be a Londoner,” said Superintendent Merrylees.

When the dust settled, $25,000 had been raised for Special Olympics. “Times are tough right now and everything we’re doing is pretty much done on virtual platforms but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Special Olympics and society at large. Thanks seems a little trite but we are so very grateful to the LPS and the people of London,” expressed MacDonell.

The funds raised will help support Special Olympics in providing more resources for athletes during this time and to assure no athlete is left behind when sports resume.

About Special Olympics Ontario

Special Olympics Ontario is part of a dynamic worldwide charitable organization dedicated to promoting active lifestyles for people with an intellectual disability through the power of sport. The organization is building communities of acceptance and inclusion for all people.


For media inquiries:

Jasmina Vranesevic
Manager, Communications, Special Olympics Ontario

Kathy Leblanc
Manager, Corporate Communications and Media Relations, London Police Service