Taking a dive with some scuba lessons

Children from Park Community School who took part in scuba diving lessons at the school. (Left to right) Nikita White, Chloe Cain, and Crystal O'Donnell, all 12, and inset, One of the pupils takes to the water.     Picture: Ian Hargreaves (112048-1)
Children from Park Community School who took part in scuba diving lessons at the school. (Left to right) Nikita White, Chloe Cain, and Crystal O'Donnell, all 12, and inset, One of the pupils takes to the water. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (112048-1)

From broken bones to new beginnings

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FOOTBALL, swimming and rounders are all part of the weekly digest of sports in most schools.

But at Park Community School in Leigh Park students aged from 11 to 16 years are taking lessons in less conventional art of scuba-diving.

By July, almost 200 youngsters will have enjoyed the novel experience of navigating underwater in shiny black outfits, fins, snorkels and oxygen tanks on their backs at the Havant Leisure Centre.

They may not be encountering sharks and exotic sea life just yet, but the trial sessions supported by the Triton Scuba Centre in Eastney have been such a success there are plans to select a group to scuba-dive for real either here or abroad.

Chantelle Wyatt, year seven pupil support and guidance manager who is a professional scuba-diving instructor, says: ‘It is great to be able to give the children such an incredible opportunity. None of them have done scuba-diving before and it has proved a big hit.

‘Being a scuba-diving instructor as opened so many doors for me and has taken me on trips I could have never dreamed of in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Bali and other countries.

‘And it could be just as inspiring and enriching for our young students.’

Training sessions cost £25 and are subsidised by the school - initially from the free school meals fund for children from families on low incomes, but recently to all students.

Nikita White, 12, says: ‘Now that I can dive I hope to use it again somewhere hot and sunny. I would look for fish and sharks and learn as much as I could so that maybe I could do it as a job one day.’

Crystal O’Donnell, 12, says: ‘I want to find out about creatures in the sea and find new ones that havnt been found yet. If they were endangered I would help them. I am so glad I learnt to dive because now I can go down there and look and see what I have to do.’

Chloe Cain, 12, adds: ‘If Park didn’t take me on the trip I probably never would have got the chance to go. I never would have got the opportunity.

‘I would like to anther country too though where it was warm to see what that was like, maybe the water would be different.’