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Londonderry Police dispatch supervisor Bobby Jones threw a pitch at Friday night's Police vs. Firefighters softball game. The two town departments raised nearly $1000 for Camp Pride in the days leading up to the game. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

Londonderry police and firefighters rise to fundraising challenge

LONDONDERRY — Londonderry’s men and women in uniform reached into their own pockets Friday to support Camp Pride, a New Durham camp for children with special needs.

Traditionally, members of the Londonderry fire and police departments have made a sizeable donation to the Londonderry Lions Club to support the camp.

“Every year for the past 20 years or so, the Professional Firefighters of Londonderry have always donated $500 at the conclusion of our annual police versus fire softball game,” said Bo Butler, president of the local firefighter’s union.

Following Friday night’s game on the Matthew Thornton Elementary School field, the firefighters and police unions each handed over checks for about $500, contributing a combined $1,000 toward the camp fund.

Butler said individual firefighters approached him in the weeks leading up to the game.

“They stepped up and presented me with personal checks signed to Camp Pride,” he said.

Halfway into the game, several members of the local police force slipped checks into Detective Chris Olson’s hands.

“There’s just no way we’d show up and not donate to Camp Pride,” Olson said. “It’s so important to those kids.”

For the past four years, the police team has won the annual event that’s sparked much friendly rivalry over the years. Friday’s game was no exception: the police took home the coveted trophy with a final score of 16 to 8.

But it appears the firefighters may have gotten the last laugh.

Called out by former Town Councilor Mark Oswald to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, the Londonderry firefighters returned to the field, splashing buckets of frigid water over their own heads and drenching Fire Chief Darren O’Brien.

With water dripping down his forehead, a beaming Butler promptly challenged the police to follow suit. Will they rise to the challenge? Stay tuned.