“I wasn’t sure how I’d be received,” says Keen. “I’m so lucky to have found such a friendly club.”
“Hayley fitted into the club straight away – her ‘I’m a mermaid, get over it’ attitude made us all smile,” says Grinnall. Within weeks the new member was a qualified snorkeller, and this February qualified as a BSAC Snorkel Instructor.
The mermaid's membership has also had an unexpected effect on the club, says Grinnall.
“We were finding that families could be alienated when one member was a diver and the others weren’t able to join in.
Club attendance at weekends could suffer as a result – but now the whole family can get involved, by learning to snorkel.”
“I felt it was a small gift that I could give back to the club,” says Keen. “I loved the course and it was a fun two days where my confidence was given a big boost.”
And she says she is also using her regional mermaid title to raise awareness and funds for marine conservation: “Mermaids need a nice place to live as well.”