A SCUBA DIVER from the Bradford district met The Prince of Wales at a special event to mark the handover of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) presidency.

Mick Barraclough, 65, chairman and diving officer of the Bradford branch of BSAC, who lives in Keighley, was at the London reception which was also attended by The Duke of Cambridge.

It was announced in May that The Duke has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to take the helm of BSAC, the UK’s governing body for snorkelling and scuba diving, which celebrated its diamond jubilee last year.

Their Royal Highnesses joined around 100 BSAC members to mark the historic handover and to say thank you to The Prince of Wales for his four decades of loyal leadership at the head of the organisation.

Mr Barraclough was invited to the event to talk to The Prince of Wales about his club’s success as BSAC’s top diamond jubilee club winners.

To mark the organisation’s 60th anniversary last year, BSAC encouraged the 1,000 branch clubs across the country to find their own ways of marking the occasion and benefit their members at the same time.

The Bradford branch won a whole host of new diving equipment for their year-long 60th Try Dive and other community events to inspire people in their community to get scuba diving.

Mr Barraclough, a dad-of-two and granddad-of four, who has been diving for 26 years, said at the event: “It was fantastic, a real honour, and I have felt really privileged to be asked to represent the Bradford club which is going from strength to strength.

“The Prince of Wales was extremely pleasant and told me that he was very impressed with the commitment we had shown to our club and the time we give up as volunteers. A very proud moment that I will not forget.”

Speaking at the special reception, where he was presented with a Lifetime Honorary Member Award by BSAC Chairman Eugene Farrell, The Prince of Wales, said: “I feel extraordinarily proud having lasted for 40 years as your President. I am delighted that my eldest son is taking over from me.

“I can only assume that his interest probably stems from the fact that I threw him into the swimming pool on many occasions and instead of putting him off, it actually enthused him.

"I am thrilled that he has decided to carry on the tradition started by my Father who I know began as your president right at the beginning of the BSAC. Then when he handed over to me, 40 years ago, little did I think that I would end up being your President for 40 out of your 60 years."

His Royal Highness expressed admiration for BSAC's growing membership of 30,000 members and the organisation's work on marine conservation such as BSAC's underwater litterpick campaign.

The Duke of Cambridge took the plunge himself at the event, held at the Oasis lido in London’s West End, where he buddied up with young scuba diver Tom Billingham, to carry out essential safety checks before descending on a short pool dive to practice their skills.

For more information about Bradford Sub-Aqua Club go to info@bradfordsubaqua.co.uk or call 01274 812008/07575 253311.