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Making a splash for Lia’s Wings: our “fin-tastic” Summer Shark Dive

This May, we were incredibly proud to have seven amazing fundraisers from our partners, The Impellam (STEM) Group, taking part in our first-ever Shark Dive Day.

Alex, Alyssa, Andy, Chloe, Craig, Laura Ann and Shelby volunteered to take on the challenge, and did an incredible job both on the day, and in the many months leading up to it, facing sharks, rays, eels and more, in a quest to raise funds and awareness for Lia’s Wings.

Having made the journey up to Liverpool from as far away as Portsmouth, the team settled into an in-depth training session with one of the aquarium’s Dive Masters, learning all about dive safety, and  - most importantly – also getting an education on Blue Planet’s toothier residents!

Although there were varying levels of apprehension leading up to the dive itself – against best advice, they all went to see the sharks before-hand – they all took to the training sessions with aplomb, and couldn’t wait to dive in!

Whilst family and friends headed off on a special guided tour of the aquarium, the team headed behind the scenes to don wetsuits, lead belts and flippers, before getting into a training pool to put some of the practical diving techniques they had learnt to good use.

Although the elephant in the room was the giant sharks that were swimming just a few feet away, it was obvious that the more nerve-wracking bit for some was the process of learning to scuba dive, which everyone (including the dive master) commented is “a totally alien experience”. After a few false starts, the team were undeterred, and passed all the prerequisite tests, so raring to go, they headed off to meet the sharks…

Diving in pairs, the team took it in turns to enter the tank, getting a guided tour around what we were reliably informed is probably the biggest saltwater tank in Europe – housing the continent’s biggest sharks.

And they were BIG – even from outside the tank! Although the aquarium’s Caribbean Reef tank is home to several species of sharks and rays, the ones that were without a doubt capturing the attention of the assembled guests (and the diver’s), were the aquariums four sand tiger sharks -with the biggest one measuring in at just over 13 feet!

Shelby described her experience:

"I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say we all had an amazing experience. We have all said we would do it again tomorrow given the chance. I know myself and Alyssa have had so much fun doing out mini challenges to raise money for Lia’s Wings. Your charity is one I will definitely hold close to my heart, the work you guys do is incredible. Thank you for the opportunity, it is one I will never forget."

The divers made their way in a circuit around the tank, stopping to give sand baths to some friendly reef fish, heading towards “shark theatre”, not without having to stop to “give way to the sharks” that were ever-present, and not ones for stopping! 

The divers all took it in turns in “shark theatre”, stopping to wave, blow kisses, and take photos with their families, with an awe-inspiring backdrop. They got some truly incredible selfies!

After they had returned to the surface and dried off, the team all told us what an amazing experience it had been, and (without exception), that they would do it again in a heartbeat! It was wonderful to have had such a great team take part in the challenge, and we were delighted to be able to give them the opportunity, after they had all worked so hard to raise vital funds and awareness for Lia’s Wings in the months prior.

Their efforts saw some of them addressing their colleagues at an Annual Conference (wearing inflatable shark suits), they organized bake sales, and sweepstakes, and two of the team even took part in a sponsored static cycle, where they cycled for over four hours, to replicate the car journey they would be making on the day.

Collectively, the team raised over £4,000, which is absolutely incredible, and a testament to just how much hard work, and creativity they put into the challenge. Given that it is the first time we have ever attempted the event, it’s even more impressive, and the seven of them will forever go down as some of our most adventurous supporters.

To those seven brilliant fundraisers, to all their colleagues who helped them throughout, and to the many family members and friends who attended on the day to cheer them on, thank you all so much for your support, and for helping to make the first-ever Lia’s Wings Shark Dive an unequivocal success!

Laura Ann also shared her experience of the day:

“Thank you for arranging such an amazing event. I am so glad I was able to take part and help raise money for the charity and raise awareness. It was a truly unforgettable day”.

To find out more about our next Shark Dive (planned for this Autumn), contact our fundraising team via email, or, visit our website here: for further details.


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