23/07/2021 - Permalink

News from our partners: Mermaid’s dream of a dip in The Mere takes a dive

Related topics: Community / Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

News from our partners

A mermaid’s dream of taking a cooling dip in the mere at Ellesmere has been dashed – because of the hot weather.

Jeni Hall, from Gobowen, who tours the country as a member of the professional Performance Mermaids Group, planned  to swim in the glacial waters of the popular beauty spot – before appearing at a children’s event in the town’s library.

But soaring temperatures and brilliant sunshine caused potentially dangerous blue-green algae to bloom in the mere, leaving a frustrated Jeni flapping her fin-tail on the  embankment…and feeling rather like a fish out of water, as she posed for the cameras.

It was a disappointment for Jeni, who performs as Mermaid Seren in aquariums and water centres around the country, as well as appearing at parties, festivals trade and corporate events.

Mermaid Seren

Mermaid Seren

But the 28-year-old is determined to ensure that everything  goes swimmingly tomorrow (Saturday 24 July 2021),  when she offers youngsters a chance to ‘meet a mermaid’ as part of Ellesmere Library’s summer reading challenge programme.

The event, sponsored by the Friends of Our Space,  is linked to a community arts project which has seen the town centre inundated with scores of brightly-decorated aquatic figures bobbing up in shops and other business — part of a colourful mermaid trail through Ellesmere’s main streets.

The appearance of toxic algae blooms prompted Shropshire Council t to post notices around the mere, warning people stay out of the water and keep their dogs away.

Exposure to the toxic bacteria while swimming or even paddling can lead to skin rashes, eye irritation, nausea, stomach ache and tingling in the fingers and toes. It is potentially fatal to pets, livestock and birds..

Sally Poynton, Ellesmere Library assistant, who organised the art project, involving local volunteers said:

“We had a safety boat organised with members of a local swimming group on standby so that Jeni could  experience swimming in the mere, but we simply couldn’t ignore the council’s warning about the blue-green algae and we hope that everyone else will heed the message.

“But children will still be able to see Jeni in her beautiful mermaid costume when she appears at Ellesmere Library on Saturday afternoon to talk about her work, water safety and the importance of protecting marine wildlife from global warming and ocean pollution.”

The talk takes place from 2 pm-3.30pm: tickets at £2.50 are available from the library or online from  eventbrite.

Jeni is a qualified free diver and a marine life medic with the British Divers Marine Life group. The former Miss Mermaid UK finalist has also raised money for Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit marine wildlife conservation organisation.

She’ll be returning to Ellesmere on Monday 16 August to host ‘swimming with a mermaid’ sessions in the pool at the town’s primary school. Tickets £8 available from the library or online from eventbrite.