SIMON'S BLOG: Bob, Bob, Bobbing along.

At the recent dive show in Birmingham, it was my great pleasure to meet Shaun Mawson, a recently-qualified PADI Open Water Diver and, it so happens, a great ambassador for the sport.

Shaun was known for many years by his friends as 'Bob', since that was what he did most times they were swimming around together; they simply put him in a floating ring, and he bobbed around while they swam, dived and snorkelled around him.

Bob - sorry, 'Shaun' - was reasonably content for the most part, since there was a general consensus that swimming and diving were probably not going to be his 'thing' due to personal circumstances. Shaun himself, however, had bigger ambitions, so while on holiday in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, he decided to approach local PADI centre Moon Divers, to see if they had a perspective on the issue.

They did, and it confirmed Shaun's feeling that he could, indeed, join others beneath the waves. Having met the gentleman I would surmise that the completion of his dive certification represents a considerable personal achievement which, surely, cannot have been reached without considerable effort on his part, yet I was impressed most by his modest assuredness that the right mind-set was all that was required; more 'I'm just doing what anyone can do', than 'if I can do it, anyone can'.

Being a native of the North-West - his email address includes the word 'happyscouser' - Shaun also gave a highly entertaining account of his experiences, but surprised me more when he mentioned (again, very modestly) that it might be useful for others in a similar position to chat about his own, personal experiences, and compare notes. For Shaun was not just conquering a natural physical reaction to the concept of breathing underwater, with the assistance of the PADI Pros at Moon Divers; he also conquers, every day, the additional challenges of living with Spina Bifida, so applying the same determination and physical effort to the scuba experience worked well for him.

Shaun was very sincere in his offer to chat through any concerns or preconceptions with others who are considering taking the plunge, and either living with Spina Bifida or in similar situations, so if you would like to speak with him - and I promise, from personal experience, you would - then please drop me a line ( and I will put you in touch!

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