Diver from Helsby chatted to The Duke of Cambridge during his visit to Wirral

Reporter:

Matt Warner

A SCUBA diver from Helsby met The Duke of Cambridge as part of a special visit in his role as the president of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).

Katie Condron, 28, a former pupil of Helsby High School and Hornsmill Primary School, has been a scuba diver for 10 years and for much of that time has been a member of the Merseyside branch of BSAC.

The Duke took over the BSAC Presidency from his father The Prince of Wales in May 2014 and followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather to become the third generation of the Royal Family to take the helm of the UK’s governing body for scuba diving and snorkelling.

During a tour of Liverpool and the Wirral on Thursday, The Duke met with Katie at the Mersey Divers’ clubhouse and pool training venue in Wallasey. He talked to a group of members of different ages about their passion for the sport and various achievements in the club’s history which was founded in 1954 – the fifth branch club of BSAC to be formed.

Katie, who works in insurance and last year completed one of her life dreams to dive with great white sharks at Guadalupe, off the coast of Mexico, said: “The Duke was very down to earth and very friendly. I felt like I was mumbling a bit at first but he was very chatty and patient.

"He puts you at your ease.

"He asked me about where I had dived and then with the rest of the group we showed him various artefacts and talked about them.

"It was just over so quickly and you felt like you could have carried on chatting to him for ages.

"It has been a fantastic day."

Other members talked to The Duke about various historical artefacts including a cannon raised by a Mersey Divers team from the 1883 wreck of the SS City of Brussels. The ship set a record for the fastest Atlantic crossing in its heyday and sank in January 1883 after being struck by another vessel near the end of its voyage from New York to Liverpool, resulting in the tragic death of 10 of the 167 people on board.

BSAC is made up of 120 dive centres and 900 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad.

It represents more than 28,000 scuba divers and snorkellers and welcomes new members from complete beginners upwards including those who have trained with other agencies.

BSAC Chief Executive Officer Mary Tetley said: “It has been a great pleasure to welcome The Duke of Cambridge to our Merseyside branch and I know members such as Katie have enjoyed sharing the history of the club and its varied stories and achievements with him.

“It’s been an important day for everyone concerned and will form another very special milestone in BSAC’s and the Merseyside club’s history.”

Alan Jones, Chairman of Mersey Divers, said: “It’s been an honour to welcome The Duke to our Merseyside club and show him the diverse range of underwater achievements from the club’s history.

“Our members get involved in so much from underwater photography to historical expeditions and it was fantastic to share this with him.

“His visit has sent a wave of excitement through the club and I am sure it will be talked about for a long time to come.”

Following The Duke’s visit to the Mersey BSAC clubhouse, he headed to the Wirral Council owned Guinea Gap Leisure Centre where he met with other BSAC members and representatives from the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) and Swim England. There he watched scuba, snorkeling and swimming activities along with a water polo match.

For more information about Mersey Divers go to www.merseydivers.com

To find out more about learning scuba diving skills with BSAC please visit www.bsac.com or find them on Facebook or Twitter @BSACDivers.

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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