North Wales schoolgirls go snorkelling with HRH The Duke of Cambridge

Three schoolgirls from North Wales have spoken of their excitement after snorkelling with The Duke of Cambridge.

Lili Young, Marni Hugo and Scarlett Owen, all eight, joined in with a small group of snorkellers at a special event to mark the handover of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Presidency.

It was announced in May that The Duke has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to take the helm of BSAC, the UK’s governing body for snorkelling and scuba diving, which celebrated its diamond jubilee last year.

He has spoken of how he hopes his Presidency will inspire his little son George and other youngsters to also take the plunge and explore the underwater world.

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Their Royal Highnesses joined around 100 BSAC members to mark the historic handover and to say thank you to The Prince of Wales for his four decades of loyal leadership at the head of the organisation.

The Duke of Cambridge took the plunge himself at the event, held at the Oasis lido in London’s West End.

Marni, a pupil at Fairholme Prep School, and Lili, a pupil at Ysgol Trefnant practiced putting on fins, masks and snorkels with The Duke before testing out a range of important snorkelling signals.

They were later presented with a certificate by The Prince of Wales for the very special part they played in the day.

Lili of Gellifor said: “The Duke spoke to me when we were in the pool and said ‘are you ready to have some fun snorkelling’, and I said ‘yes I am Your Royal Highness.’”

“He was kind and respectful and I told him I would be telling my friends about meeting him.”

Marni of St Asaph said: “What I will remember is coming first in the race we did and beating The Duke. It was brilliant and I really enjoy snorkelling.

“I got to be his partner and he asked me my name and how old I was. I found him very kind to talk to.”

Scarlett, a pupil at Ysgol Bro Cernyw, practiced putting on fins, masks and snorkels with The Duke before testing out a range of important snorkelling signals. She was later presented with a certificate by The Prince of Wales for the very special part she played in the day.

She said: “The Duke shook my hand when we were in the pool and I told him my name and how old I was. He was really nice and kind.

“I also got to shake the hand of The Prince of Wales too when I received my certificate.

“I love snorkelling because I get to see my friends and is really fun.”

The girls also enjoyed meeting The Prince of Wales and shaking his hand when they received their certificates.

Speaking at the special reception, where he was presented with a Lifetime Honorary Member Award by BSAC Chairman Eugene Farrell, The Prince of Wales, said: “I feel extraordinarily proud having lasted for 40 years as your President. I am delighted that my eldest son is taking over from me.

“I can only assume that his interest probably stems from the fact that I threw him into the swimming pool on many occasions and instead of putting him off, it actually enthused him.

“I am thrilled that he has decided to carry on the tradition started by my Father who I know began as your president right at the beginning of the BSAC. Then when he handed over to me, 40 years ago, little did I think that I would end up being your President for 40 out of your 60 years.”

His Royal Highness expressed admiration for BSAC’s growing membership of 30,000 members and the organisation’s work on marine conservation such as BSAC’s underwater litterpick campaign.

His Royal Highness added: “I do hope the club will go from strength to strength under its new and enthusiastic management.”

The Duke later joined young scuba divers where he buddied up with 17-year-old Tom Billingham, to carry out essential safety checks before descending on a short pool dive to practice their skills.

While he did so, his father was taken on a short journey through a series of BSAC storyboards which detailed the success of BSAC’s recent underwater litterpick campaign, its diamond jubilee celebrations and the Beachcomber and rock pooling sessions designed for young children to learn about what they can find on a beach.

The Duke of Cambridge, who was presented with a BSAC President diving jacket and a scuba diving T-shirt for his little son George, said at the event: “It is a great honour to be here with my father to accept the role as President of the British Sub-Aqua Club, continuing the Presidency from my father and from my grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh.

“Like them, I can proudly say I learnt to dive with the Club, and share your passion for the sport and the underwater environment.

“I hope that one day my son, George, might follow in our footsteps. At the moment bathtime is a quite painful but I imagine as he gets a little bit older donning a snorkel and mask might calm him down.

I look forward to working with BSAC to encourage even more young people to dive – to help develop the next generation of underwater explorers, pioneers and protectors.”

Mary Tetley, Lili’s mum and BSAC Chief Executive, who owns Denbigh Chocolate Shop with husband Mark Young, said: “It is an honour for us to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge to this very special event to mark the official handover of the BSAC Presidency from father to son.

“It is the perfect opportunity for us to mark the dedicated patronage which The Prince of Wales has given to BSAC over his four decades with the organisation but also to welcome The Duke who will be the third generation of his family to become President.

“We look forward to working closely with The Duke to inspire a new generation of young scuba divers to discover the rich adventures and opportunities of the underwater world which we all have a shared interest in preserving and protecting.”

The event was held at the Oasis lido by kind permission of Camden Council who own the venue which is managed on their behalf by GLL (Better), the UK’s largest charitable social enterprise leisure provider.

Lili and Marni are learning to snorkel with Flintshire Sub Aqua Club. For more details go to

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