Leah Barton – also known by her Instagram handle The North West Mermaid, is a duty manager, lifeguard, and swimming instructor at Whitehaven’s Copeland Pool and Fitness Centre.
Leah first became interested in the world of real-life mermaids when she noticed a child unable to join in during an inflatable pool party due to their swimming ability.
She immediately wanted to do more to support children who are unable to join in during pool parties and so pitched the idea of posing as a mermaid in the pool to support those with weaker swimming abilities, to her manager.
From here, Leah became a fully qualified mermaid and hasn’t looked back since.
She said: “We found a wonderful course called Fin to Fit, I got my instructor’s course there and I went in the pool with my tail for my very first time. It was really interesting and so much fun, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
“My tail is an Atlantis Lightning Fantasy 3 from America; the tail is made of scuba material and the Monofin is 18 pounds in weight and made of silicon. It’s not glamorous getting into your tail, it’s like pulling up a pair of jeans and it takes ages and is really unflattering!
“People react very differently when they see me in public, for a lot of people it’s mainly confusion but the kids absolutely love it.
“The tail is very realistic and super detailed. Four-year-olds come up to me on the beach and have a million questions. Adults and parents normally just want to know a wee bit more about it.
“I always make sure I never swim alone, and I go with someone who knows how to get me out of the tails. It’s a lot more fun swimming in the sea, it’s like living the dream!
“The swimming side is my favourite part of being a real-life mermaid. The tails make swimming super-fast and I love that.”
Leah is currently working with Pictama to create a sustainable and ecofriendly ocean and beach clean-up-oriented line of merchandise.
Some of the proceeds from the sales of this merchandise will go to ocean conservation charities.
You can find Leah on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
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