Mermaid Lauren is living the Disney dream as she prepares to represent Suffolk at UK final
PUBLISHED: 13:20 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 26 July 2018
Growing up her favourite film was always The Little Mermaid, and now Lauren Rymer's dreams are coming true as she prepares to represent Suffolk at the Miss Mermaid UK pageant.
And the 23-year-old, who started mermaiding 10 years ago, will be using the competition to promote another cause close to her heart - a £150,000 fundraising campaign at Beccles lido.
Lauren, who lives in Beccles and goes by the name Mermaid Lolly, was recently named Miss Mermaid Suffolk after entering the competition online and will now compete for the UK title in September.
Lauren, who by day works as a mortgage service representative, said: “I first found out you could buy a tail 10 years ago so I started saving up and bought my first fabric tail.
“I trained with that before moving onto a silicone tail two years ago.
“It’s something I have always loved and I have always been obsessed with the sea, marine life and marine conservation. I just really wanted to be a mermaid.”
Lauren practices swimming in her tail in the sea and has also been enjoying the pool after hours at Beccles Lido as part of her work to help with their campaign.
She said: “It’s just pure magic. When I’m in my tail I feel like I am in a Disney film.
“I have always struggled with anxiety and I had a panic disorder and have gone through loads of treatment, but mermaiding has really brought me out of my shell. When I’m in my tail I am a different person and really confident.
“It is such a nice escape to go from my day job to being in my tail in the pool.”
Miss Mermaid UK is a unique pageant for mermaid lovers which has been running since 2014.
Lauren will have to take part in an underwater photo shoot at the two-day final, among other things, and will be proudly wearing a Beccles Lido sash to help the fundraising drive.
The lido team are working to raise £150,000 to refurbish, update and replace the lining in the main swimming pool and have tasked the community with helping them raise the first £15,000.
“It’s really exciting being the tail of Beccles Lido,” said Lauren. “The fundraising campaign is going really well and it is great to be involved.”
To follow Lauren’s journey, visit her Mermaid Lolly page on YouTube.
The lido campaign
The lido campaign was launched in May and more than £6,000 has already been raised.
Director Shaun Crowley said the £150,000 is needed to remove the old guttering, replace the drains, repair any cracks and put in a new lining before next summer.
And if further funds can be raised, the team are also looking to install a skimmer system costing £50,000 which will help keep the pool clean, and pool lighting which would be a further £50,000.
“We need to do the work all at the same time and if we don’t do it now it will probably be another 10 or 15 years,” said Mr Crowley.
“Last year when we challenged the community to raise £10,000 they raised £32,000, so maybe they can surprise us again.”
Mr Crowley said applications have already been submitted for grant funding and he would love to hear from anyone keen to hold a fundraiser for the cause.
He said: “When we took the pool on it was in a terrible state so we did some work to patch it up and get it running.
“That has kept us going but this year will be our tenth and the project is about securing Beccles Lido’s future.”
Donations can be dropped into a bucket at the lido entrance, or made online.
Tomorrow from 6pm, Beccles Kingfishers will be holding a fundraising swimming gala and barbecue at the lido and spectators are invited along with entry at £2.50.