Cubs and Scouts to dive with sharks for charity
A group of Cubs and Scouts are looking to overcome their worst fears in order to raise much needed funds for a Staffordshire based charity that supports disabled children.
Four boys from the 85th Milton Scouts and Cubs pack, in Stoke-on-Trent, are to undertake a 30-minute Junior Shark Dive at the Blue Planet Aquarium, in Cheshire, to support Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
The fundraising dive will be part of Caudwell Children’s #Team20 celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the charity’s foundation.
Throughout 2020 Caudwell Children is encouraging people to engage with the charity in a number of ways, like taking part in a fundraising event, volunteering for the charity, or raising awareness for the charity’s services, in order to join their #Team20.
The boys, aged nine-11, will have their encounter with the aquariums fearsome looking sharks on Sunday 28th June, 2020.
Sarah Turner, Cub Scout Leader at Milton, says she’s delighted by the courage and commitment shown by the boys. As she explained: “The ethos of cub scouts is to help children to reach their potential through a variety of fun and challenging activities, unique experiences and everyday adventure.
“But I think this particular challenge will take the group beyond their comfort zone. They’re used to doing things like camping, hiking, water sports and teambuilding activities, and securing badges in cooking, painting, photography and martial arts, but swimming with sharks! That’s something else!
“But when I suggested it to the wider group these four boys immediately stated their interest, although a couple of them wanted a little more time to think about it, which amazed me.”
Sarah had to get permission from their parents before they could register for the dive and she was delighted when they all confirmed that they were happy for their children to take part.
“I’m sure that they will hold their nerve to take the plunge on the day,” said Sarah. “They can’t wait to get into Blue Planet’s kid-sized scuba gear and get up close and personal with their collection of black tip sharks and tropical fish.”
Ben Emery, AJ Cartlidge, Jack Holdcroft and Thomas Yates, have paid a £50 registration fee for the privilege of diving with the sharks and they have also been given a £300 fundraising target.
Ben, a pupil at Milton Primary Academy, recently completed every activity and challenge badge that a Cub Scout can achieve and Sara says he exemplifies the group. As she enthused: “He is an inspirational boy, just like the others, and he loves a challenge.
“He joined the group when he was eight and he’s enthusiastically taken on every activity and challenge badge in just two and a half years, and he was voted Cub Scout of the Year in 2019.
“But stepping into the two metre tank will be unlike anything he, or any of the other boys, has done before.”
Ben’s mum, Sue, is understandably proud of her son. As she enthused: “When I think of all the activities Ben’s tried at cubs, many for the first time, I’m amazed as lots of them are way outside his comfort zone!
“Things like performing in front of people, and taking up water sports, have really challenged him but the activities have given him so much confidence.”
When Ben told his mum about the shark dive he was initially reluctant to get involved. As Sue explained: “He was a little worried about the size of the sharks but I thought it was a great thing for him to do so I encouraged him to take part.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him to push his boundaries and he many never get the chance to do it again.”
Sue explained that he would be with professional divers, each highly experienced in managing the sharks that they work with, and this persuaded 11-year-old Ben to take the plunge.
“Another mum who’s a friend of mine was a little concerned but I know that he will be in safe hands,” said Sue. “Ben loves water and really enjoys messing about in it, obviously he’s never scuba dived before, so that will be an absolute first for him.
“But completing this challenge will give my son even more confidence and me and his dad will be there to watch, it will be a memorable day.”
Kate Sherwin, from Caudwell Children, is delighted that the group have chosen to raise funds for the charity. As she exclaimed: “This is fantastic news and you have to admire Ben and his school friends for their bravery and commitment.
“Amongst other things I believe that Ben has been a flag bearer at a Stoke City match, he’s taken a trip around the local community fire station, and he’s been given a guided tour of Hanley Mosque.
“But I can guarantee you that he and the other boys won’t have done anything as exciting as this before.”
Places are still available for children and young people, aged 8-15, to take part in the dive and each participant will also get free entry for one spectating adult.
Children will be given a two-hour induction and training session ahead of the dive by Blue Planet’s highly experienced instructors.
“There is a minimum height requirement of 4ft 2” so I’d advise parents to ensure that they measure their child before registering for the dive,” concluded Kate. “Bookings are limited and are on a first come first served basis so I’d urge those who are interested to register now to avoid disappointment.”
Money raised by the group will help Caudwell Children to provide funding for in-home and in-hospital support, specialist equipment, such as powered wheelchairs, buggies, tricycles and car seats, and a number of life changing therapies and treatments.
For more information and to register for a Junior Shark Dive call Kate Sherwin on 01782 433756 or email: email@example.com
To find out more about Caudwell Children’s Challenges and Events visit the web page here.