5 April 2022
A Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil who gained her PADI Junior Open water on her 10th birthday, became one of the youngest divers to be certified to dive to depths of 12 metres / 40ft, which is the limit for her age. She has since dived in the Central Atlantic Ocean and closer to home in the cooler waters of the UK, where she gained her dry suit diver certificate last year.
Along with friends at Diveshack UK in Harrogate, Bella, aged 12, organised a scuba diving session at the Ladies’ College pool to raise over £500 for the British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity. The money will be used to purchase new helmets for marine medics when they are accessing difficult terrain to rescue stranded or injured sea mammals such as seals, dolphins and whales.
Bella’s father Adrian said her passion for diving stemmed from her love of the marine environment. “From a very early age Bella has been obsessed about nature and has never shown any fear of the water. She’s a very sensible diver and she loves to see the underwater world, and all the colours and life down there,” he said. “In particular”, he added, “Bella loves to look at nudibranchs, the soft molluscs which are noted for their extraordinary colours and forms”.
Bella is already hoping to study marine biology at university and is a committed environmentalist.
Tim Yarrow, Director of Diveshack, said Bella was a natural in the water and inspired others with her love of nature.
“Since completing her course in Cape Verde, she has been desperate to come out and visit some of the amazing UK dive sites we have. Top on her list is to come diving with the seals in the Farne Islands later this year.
“Her determination to show the wonder of breathing underwater showed through with her organising the try dive for her school peers and in doing so raising money for a fabulous local marine charity which was very important to her”.
“I have no doubt that she will be at the forefront of an environmental campaign in the future as well as being an instructor for us in time,” he said.
Bella is a former Head Girl of Highfield Prep School, part of the Harrogate Ladies’ College family, and played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic in restoring a derelict pond on the school grounds into a wildlife pond and garden.
“I am so lucky to have been able to learn to dive”, said Bella, “and I would encourage other children to try it. Being closer to nature underwater and seeing how fragile it is has made me want to learn more about conservation. During lockdown when we couldn’t dive it was so rewarding to create a safe environment for amphibians at our eco pond. I’m now looking forward to attending a BDMLR Marine Medics course with my Dad in the Easter holidays and learning how divers can help our British sea mammals”.