Putting our region's cancer needs first

Fearless Fundraisers Swim with Sharks for Local Cancer Research

A team of fearless fundraisers have made a splash by taking on a sponsored Shark dive in aid of local Charity, North West Cancer Research.

Shark dive participants John Barrowcliff and Ian Lamb

The fundraisers travelled from all over the North West to Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port for the thrilling fundraiser, getting up close and cage-free with Europe’s largest collection of sharks.

After two hours of training on safety, equipment use and the different species of fish and sharks in the tank, the group took to the tank in pairs for their encounters with the 10 feet long Sand Tiger Sharks. Also joining them in the tank were Moray Eels, Southern Stingrays and Bamboo Sharks.

Dare-devil divers included Paul and John Roberts – two brothers that run Liverpool-based ethical recycling firm Roberts Recycling and work alongside the Charity to turn unwanted clothing into funds for life-saving research.

Other divers included John Barrowcliff from Wallasey and his father-in-law Ian Lamb. John said: “The Shark dive was an incredible experience. I’m not really a huge fan of swimming and always avoid it where I can, so the diving part alone was enough to get me nervous and adding Sharks to the mix made it all the more challenging! The team at Blue Planet made us all feel extremely comfortable with our training session and by the time we got in the tank my nerves were completely gone.

“I didn’t know until recently how much more likely it is for people living in the North West to be diagnosed with cancer, and the fact that North West Cancer Research are directly tackling that issue makes them such a worthwhile cause in my eyes. I’ve lost several members of my family to the disease and now I have two boys of my own I often worry about the things life will throw their way. If I can contribute in any way to helping advance research and give them a better chance should they ever need it, then it’s worth swimming with Sharks!” 

The event marks the first of its kind for the Charity, and together the group have raised over £3,000, all of which will go to funding cancer research and education projects across the North West and North Wales.

An extra special participant for the charity is their very own CEO, Alastair Richards, who said: “There was a lot more to consider than I expected taking on the shark dive. I had never been diving before so once you’re in the water the first thing to think about was breathing. Once I had mastered that and planted my feet firmly on the ground, it was great!

“The sharks were curious and would swim close by for a look. Being in the water with them really made you realise just how big they are – and how many teeth they have!

“I would like to thank the other brave fundraisers that joined me on the day and got up close with our fearsome friends in the tank. Their sponsorship will help to pay for vital research to tackle the cause, improve the care and find the cure for cancer. It was a very different experience for all of us, and one that we certainly won’t forget!”

You can sign up for your own exciting challenge and support life-saving cancer research and education across our region at: nwcr.org/events