A scuba diver from Newton-le-Willows met The Duke of Cambridge as part of a special visit in his role as the President of The British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
Alistair Reynolds, 71, has been a scuba diver for close to 50 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 Alistair 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.
Alistair holds an impressive list of BSAC accomplishments and is currently Mersey Divers’ senior instructor. A BSAC national instructor and former Technical Manager for the organisation, Alistair has trained thousands of people of all different ages and backgrounds to learn the sport over four decades.
Alistair, a grandfather-of-eight and great-grandfather-of-three, introduced The Duke to young scuba divers Frankie Wycherley, 13, and 16-year-old Hannah Williams.
Alistair said: “The Duke was a lovely man, very easy to talk to and very interested in what the young divers are up to.
“Both Frankie and Hannah were very nervous before The Duke came in but as soon as he started talking to them, you could see that he was putting them at their ease.”
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 Alistair 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.