Hundreds of people, including police officers and community leaders, plunged into freezing water in Victoria for a good cause.

The second-annual Vancouver Island Polar Plunge took place at Willows Beach in Oak Bay on Sunday.

Fundraisers took the dive to help raise money for the more than 4,600 Special Olympics B.C. athletes in the province.

“Special Olympics is a top charity,” said Special Olympics Athlete Sheenagh Morrison. “It’s close to my heart and I’ve made so many friends.”

The “chilly” event has been held in Vancouver for the last four years, but now Islanders are taking part.

The plunge was organized by local law enforcement and police officers from Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Central Saanich and the RCMP.

Even Victoria’s top cop took the plunge.

“When you see these athletes with intellectual disabilities and the confidence that they have when they’re competing — it makes it all worth it,” explained Chief Del Manak of the Victoria Police.

Many first responders plunged into the frigid waters in full uniform, while other participants wore costumes and colourful outfits.

“It’s cold in the water, but the cause warms your heart,” said Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan, RCMP District Officer of Vancouver Island. “So going in and out is not that bad at all.”

The money raised from the event pays for the athletes training and travel.

Donations will be accepted until next week at plunge4specialolympics.com 

Ceilidh Millar