Putting our region's cancer needs first

Brave Fundraisers Take the Plunge with Sharks

A group of fearless fundraisers have made waves by taking on a sponsored shark dive in aid of local charity, North West Cancer Research

shark divers in the tank with sharks and other fish

Daredevil fundraisers Dan, Jessica, and Jenna travelled to Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port to get up close and cage-free with Europe’s largest collection of sharks.

After a two-hour training session on safety, equipment, and the different species of fish and sharks they’d be swimming alongside, the trio took to the tank one by one for their encounters with the 10-foot-long Sand Tiger Sharks. Also joining them in the tank were Moray Eels, Southern Stingrays, and Bamboo Sharks.

Diver Dan Riding, from Atherton, chose to take the plunge after his company elected North West Cancer Research as their Charity of the Year, and he decided to make his solo challenge as extreme as possible. Dan, who raised £1,185 for the Charity, has taken on the thrilling fundraiser to honour friends and family he has sadly lost to cancer over the years.

He said: “I lost my best friend Dan at just 18 years old. He battled the disease for two years when we should have been having the time of our lives and losing him at such a young age made me and my friends grow up quickly.

“A few years later my grandad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer – a battle that didn’t last long at all really and took him far too soon. Now Mary, my wife’s life-long friend, has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. She’s a 40-year-old mother to two young children – it’s a position no family should ever have to be in.

“This is why I was so keen to support the work of North West Cancer Research, and in such an extreme way. I have great hope that the work carried out by the Charity continues to benefit us and our future generations.

“The training on the day of the dive put me right at ease and I didn’t realise that sharks could be so domesticated! They all had their own personalities and traits, so it was exciting to get in there with them having just learned so much about them. Some of the smaller fish even allowed you to pet them and on our way out we were encouraged to look for loose shark teeth to take home.

“I’ve already encouraged friends to experience a shark dive, and it’s certainly given me the bug to do it again. I’ll be looking for diving experiences on my next holiday!”

Alastair Richards, CEO of North West Cancer Research, said: “I would like to thank the brave fundraisers that took to shark-infested waters and got up close with 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.”