The Prince of Wales meets the next generation of scuba divers and snorkelers
The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge met the next generation of scuba divers and snorkellers at an event to mark the handover of the British Sub-Aqua Club Presidency (BSAC).
The Duke himself took the plunge at the Oasis Sports Centre in London’s West End which is owned by Camden Council and managed on their behalf by GLL, the UK’s largest charitable social enterprise leisure provider.
It was announced in May that The Duke has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to take over the leadership of BSAC, the UK’s governing body for scuba diving and snorkelling, which celebrated its diamond jubilee last year.
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.
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 of Cambridge later buddied up with 17-year-old scuba diver Tom Billingham to carry out essential safety checks before descending on a short pool dive.
The Duke also joined in with a group of young snorkellers and together they practiced putting on masks, fins and snorkels before carrying out a series of snorkelling signals.
While The Duke enjoyed his scuba diving, 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 group of excited young BSAC members were then presented with certificates by The Prince of Wales to mark the special part they played on the day.
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.”
Eugene Farrell, BSAC Chairman, said: “It was 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.”