World First at Weymouth Sea Life Park

Kate Westaway picture
Kate Westaway picture

The world’s first photography exhibition underwater ‘Celebrations of the Sea’ will open at Weymouth Sea Life Park on November 15th.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, one of the oldest charities providing financial support to former seafarers, is launching the exhibition, which is sponsored by canned seafood manufacturer John West, in honour of ‘unsung heroes of the sea’.

The unique gallery of the deep will feature images of both celebrities and every day people carrying out their ‘day jobs’ underwater.

With exhibition entry included in the general Sea Life Park admissions price, the unusual images will be submerged in the aquarium’s tanks alongside living marine life.

The exhibition, which launched at the Brighton Sea Life Centre last month, will be at Weymouth Sea Life Park from 15th to 21st November before touring Sea Life Centres in Birmingham, Blackpool and Scarborough.

Produced by acclaimed marine photographer Kate Westaway, photographs include personalities such as TV presenter Dan Snow, TV chef Mitch Tonks, TV wildlife presenter Ellie Harrison, world champion cliff diver Gary Hunt, UK surfing champion Tassy Swallow and world renowned yachtsman Mike Golding OBE.

Weymouth Sea Life Park General Manager, Craig Dunkerley, said: “Sea Life is delighted to be supporting ‘Celebrations of the Sea’ with the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to engage visitors with the amazing underwater world. ‘Celebrations of the Sea’ really illustrates the delicate relationship between humans and the sea, and to host the world’s first photography exhibition underwater is a real honour.”

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “Celebrations of the Sea’ is a unique and fantastically creative project which aims to honour the maritime industry’s unsung heroes. These include the fishermen who brave the UK’s stormiest seas, to traditional lobster pot makers who keep precious fishing traditions alive and our most talented chefs who turn the fish caught out at sea into the nation’s favourite dishes.

“We are incredibly excited to have worked which a photographer of Kate’s calibre on this project. Hopefully it will go some way to not only showcasing the variety of professions involved with the sea in the UK today, but will support donations to the charity to help those former mariners who have given so much and are now in need.

We would also like to thank our sponsors, John West and CEVA Logistics, without whom the exhibition wouldn’t have been possible.”

Over 95-per-cent of all Britain’s imports and exports are still transported by sea and the £37 billion UK maritime sector directly employs over 250,000 people – more than aerospace and agriculture combined. All donations generated from the exhibition will go to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society to support the UK’s retired and impoverished seafarers in times of financial hardship.

In the last 12 months alone, 2,644 former seafarers across the country benefited from £1.5 million of grants from the society but help for this vulnerable community is very much in demand, particularly in the current harsh economic environment.

Tassy Swallow – Growing up in St Ives, Tassy could surf before she could walk and now aged just 17 she is a professional surfer representing GB in competitions all around the world.

Dan Snow – The TV presenter and Naval Historian.

Dian Lacy – Royal Navy Search and Rescue officer Dian was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his part in a dramatic sea rescue on New Year’s Eve last year off Cornwall.

Mike Golding – Mike is one of the few yachtsmen to have raced round the world non stop in both directions. He held the solo record for sailing round the world westabout (the most challenging direction for circumnavigation) between 1994 and 2000.

Mitch Tonks –  Award winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger, Mitch Tonks can only be described as a seafood champion, recognised as one of the leading seafood chefs and restaurateurs in the UK. His knowledge, enthusiasm and energy has won him many accolades include Best fishmonger, Best fish restaurant and Restaurateur of the year.

Kate Westaway picture
Kate Westaway picture