OLD Kilpatrick’s own Little Mermaid is contesting a top diving award — and appealing for local people to back her.

Melanie Long, 25, has made a living as a professional mermaid in Thailand, swimming, diving and entertaining.

With a love for the ocean,she became a successful free diver and then conservationist on the island of Phuket.

Returning from the tropics, Melanie is back in Scotland and intends to study marine science.

All of her experiences make her the ideal candidate for Miss Diving Specials 2016, she says.

Melanie told the Post: “I think I would be a great representative for diving as someone who does care about the ocean. My whole adult life has been devoted to making the ocean my second home and doing my best for it.”

Clydebank Post:
STUNNING: Mermaid Melanie with a can of Irn Bru in Thailand.

In 2010, Melanie moved to Thailand with boyfriend David Sexton to become a diving instructor.

She soon worked up a name for herself as a reliable instructor before stumbling on the chance to become a professional mermaid.

She said: “I was volunteering with a charity and they wanted mermaids at the entrance to greet people coming into an event. I had to wear a fabric tail — but there was one girl who had a tail that could go into water. I thought, ‘oh my god — you can actually be a mermaid?'

“Obviously, being a red-head kid, I always associated with the Disney princess Ariel. I used to have big murals of Ariel in my bedroom — it was my dream to grow up to be like the Little Mermaid. So, it’s quite funny that I eventually got there in the end.”

Clydebank Post:
Mermaid Melanie

From that moment, she was hooked and started doing children’s parties, swimming and playing with the guests.

Demand soon rose and she founded her own "‘pod’", the Phuket Mermaid Pod, and was jetted around luxurious parties and functions.

Working as a diver, she could earn about £20 to £80 a day, but as a mermaid, she was able to scoop more than £100 for a few hours work — and was “well looked after” by her often wealthy hosts.

Melanie also became a conservationist and took part in what was, at the time, the biggest ocean floor clean-up.

Her desire to stop the human race destroying the ocean was one of the factors that led her back to Scotland, where she is soon to study marine science at GlasgowUniversity.

She said: “The good thing about the mermaid stuff is that it takes a human being and puts them in the situation where people can relate to the fish in the sea more. People might often think, ‘oh, the poor fish’, but when you put a mermaid in they start to care a bit more, and think about it a little deeper. It’s a link between the human world and the ocean, and a way of getting children, and even older people, thinking about what is happening in the sea, with regards to the protection of the marine environment.”

We may yet see mermaids in the River Clyde as well, as Melanie said there is a growing demand for mermaids in the UK. 

For for Melanie online at: http://tinyurl.com/mermaidmelanie