A woman who suffered a near-drowning accident as a child has overcome her fear of water to make a splash as a scuba driving instructor.

Lisa Shafe took up scuba diving through the British Sub-Aqua Club after making herself a promise that she would live her life without regrets.

The scientist, who now dives with St Albans Sub Aqua Club, says almost drowning in a swimming pool as a child led to her developing a chronic fear of water.

But she managed to overcome her fears and tackle her first ever dive, and now she is a qualified British Sub-Aqua Club open water instructor and first class diver.

Ms Shafe, now 44, from Knebworth, said: “I was only around eight and was sat on the back of a little dinghy which was in a swimming pool. We had gone to visit friends who had a pool in their garden.

“The adults weren’t by the pool it was just us children. Someone ran past and caught their foot on the dinghy rope that was outside of the pool.

“The force threw the dinghy forward and I was catapulted off the back which such force I was almost knocked unconscious.

“I was sinking and barely conscious.”

The eldest daughter of the family they were visiting managed to drag her to the surface and haul her out.

Ms Shafe added: “That incident left me with a real fear of water and for years I wouldn’t put my head under water in the bath or in the spray of the shower.

“But as a child I loved Captain Scarlett, Stingray and Aqua Marina and always wanted to see what it was really like swimming underwater with fish and other marine life.”

In her early 20s, she decided to pluck up the courage and give diving a go with St Albans Sub Aqua Club.

She said: “I was actually terrified and had to sit on my hands as I was shaking so much. I thought if they saw me like that I wouldn’t be allowed to give it a go.

“Yet, strangely, as soon as I was actually underwater and I could see and I was breathing I instantly relaxed and in a way I have never looked back.”

Ms Shafe has been an instructor since 2008, and a first class diver since 2013. She has now dived all around the world and is one of the brave few who jump into UK waters all year round.

British Sub-Aqua Club chief executive Mary Tetley said: “It’s wonderful that not only did Lisa conquer her fear to learn to dive but she is now training up other divers.

“British Sub-Aqua Club training is world-renowned for safety and we would encourage anyone who wants to have a go to contact their local club for a try dive.”