‘REAL life’ mermaids made a visit to Silverburn at the weekend in aid of a good cause.

Guests at the shopping centre were treated to a “spectacular” display as a group of mermaids flaunted their colourful tails and handed out a variety of ocean-themed gifts.

They visited the centre as part of the Paisley-based charity Just Dive, which is led by Laura Hamilton.

The charity aims to encourage water confidence and safety amongst youngsters by making activities like scuba, snorkelling, and even mermaid training more accessible.

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After suffering from a broken back in 2014 and being in hospital due to a near-fatal case of pancreatitis, Laura was left in severe physical pain and with lasting mobility issues.

Laura said this was a “humbling” time in her life and it highlighted the need for more accessible services and training opportunities for those living with a disability.

After visiting Dubai where she witnessed the positive difference that water sports can make in building self-confidence and encouraging teamwork and leadership skills amongst the young people taking part.

Laura said: “In other countries, children are introduced to sports like snorkelling as early as five – the level of water confidence in young people is astounding!

“We just don’t have the same enthusiasm for getting kids confident in the water in the UK but it’s an essential skill that could save your life one day.

“When I returned home, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I’ve got 20 plus years of swimming and scuba instructing under my belt.

“Now, I am using that to foster the next generation’s confidence and safety in the water.”

Just Dive is devoted to breaking down barriers for those living with a disability, providing specialised training for individuals with autism, ADHD and a variety of additional support needs, including physical disabilities and mental health issues.

Katherine McGinness, Environmental and Community Coordinator at Silverburn said: “Just Dive has such an awe-inspiring story behind it, it has been a true pleasure to have the team in Silverburn to raise awareness and funds for such a vital cause. You could see the joy on visitors’ faces as they met the mermaids.

“Silverburn is deeply committed to supporting local charities to thrive within the local community. Thank you to Just Dive for their amazing display this weekend and to all the generous guests who supported their cause.”