ONE OF Britain’s youngest scuba diving instructors has been named the nation’s first This Girl Can Dive Ambassador, to encourage more females to take the plunge.
Megan Judd, 17, from Halifax, first began scuba diving aged 12 and is now the youngest female open water instructor registered with her governing body, the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
Aside from studying for her A-levels, Megan spends her spare time beneath the waves, teaching divers of all abilities and ages, from teenagers to pensioners, as part of her role at Bradford Sub-Aqua Club.
Megan was chosen for BSAC’s This Girl Can Dive Ambassador role after the organisation put its backing behind Sport England’s campaign to encourage more women and girls to be active.
The TV and social media campaign uses slogans like “Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox,” to promote the idea that women should not to be put off exercise because of a fear of being judged.
BSAC is an official partner of the This Girl Can campaign.
Chief Executive Mary Tetley, who is based at BSAC’s headquarters in Ellesmere Port, said: “The This Girl Can campaign is sending such a positive message to women and girls, that as governing body for scuba diving in Britain, we felt we just had to get behind it.
“It is heartbreaking that so many women are discouraged from leading active lives because they feel self conscious, and so miss out on all sorts of fun.”
Megan was one of the youngest people ever to qualify as an Assistant Open Water instructor with BSAC at age 15, and a full Open Water Instructor aged 17. She won BSAC’s Young Volunteer of the Year prize last year, for her coaching work.
She is keen to recruit as many women and girls as she can to try out scuba diving in one of their local clubs around the country.
She said: “Scuba diving in this country is pretty much 100 per cent the opposite of the usual girly stereotypes. It can be cold, the kit is heavy, you often get muddy and it can be dark.
“It’s not like when you do it abroad and you’re on the beach in your little bikini, but I love it. I started when I was just 12 and there are always people to support you all the way, especially with BSAC.
“I think because they are all volunteers they just want everyone to have a good time. I really want to encourage girls to just have a go. Don’t be scared. It’s okay to be apprehensive because everyone is, but try it.”
Megan’s love for diving started before she was even old enough to scuba, after she snorkelled with turtles on a family holiday to Barbados at the age of eight.
Although her mother Kate is not a diver, the rest of the family, who live in Halifax, have enjoyed many diving experiences together including a return trip to the Caribbean.
Bradford SAC club chairman Mick Barraclough wished Megan all the best in her new role.
He said: “Since the day Megan joined Bradford Sub Aqua Club she has been a popular and enthusiastic member, always wanting to learn and be involved in any of the club activities.
“To see Megan’s commitment to learning and her willingness to help and support other members, new and old has been an inspiration, gaining her the respect and admiration of the club.
“Megan is a fantastic role model and her dedication will make her a great ambassador for girls, BSAC and scuba diving.”
For more information about the British Sub-Aqua Club visit www.bsac.com or find them on Twitter: @BSACDivers, and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BritishSubAquaClub.
• For more information about the This Girl Can Campaign, visit: www.thisgirlcan.co.uk or www.sportengland.org.