In 2019, Helen Bull became the UK’s first wheelchair-user to qualify to hold an RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). At the beginning of May, at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, she passed the assessment to qualify as an Open Water Lifeguard (OWL), becoming the first wheelchair user to achieve this RLSS UK qualification.

Helen has over 20 years of experience in commercial and leisure management roles - currently employed as National Commercial Aquatics Manager by Serco Leisure. In addition to her role with Serco Leisure, she is also a RLSS UK Trainer Assessor delivering lifeguarding qualifications and an elected Trustee of the RLSS UK board.

Helen said: “Barriers are there to be smashed down!

I have already taken it a step further and completed the upskill to become an RLSS UK Open Water Trainer Assessor.

Achieving these things is not a single person’s effort. I have a fantastic team of people around me who helped make this possible.

Never let anyone tell you something isn’t possible.”

Simon Lane, Serco Leisure’s Managing Director said:

“Everyone at Serco Leisure is very proud of Helen and what she’s achieved, while having this ‘first’ take place at a centre we operate, on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, is doubly pleasing.”

Jo Talbot, Commercial Director at RLSS UK, added: “Helen’s achievement in gaining her Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) qualification reflects her passion for the industry and her determination - she is truly an inspiration for others.

"RLSS UK is committed to ensuring our qualifications are accessible. As part of her role as RLSS UK Trustee, Helen is helping us to ensure our qualifications and awards are as accessible as possible within the parameters of the rigour and robustness prerequisite and standards required to pass the assessments.”

Helen isn’t finished there and is now looking to achieve her National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ).