A ten-year-old girl from Watford is one of the youngest people in the world to become a qualified scuba diver.

Ella-Maria Lopez, who is a Year 5 pupil at Knutsford School, first discovered her passion for the hobby when she tried a pool dive while on a family holiday in Ibiza.

She then went on another trial dive in an enclosed lagoon and immediately realised her passion.

Ella-Maria, of Radlett Road, said: "It is fun to do and it is a really great experience to see lots of fish and coral. Sometimes you just find yourself stopping and looking at the fish - it is breathtaking.

"I never get scared when I am diving. My friends think it is really cool that I am doing it. They keep asking me what I see."

In order to get her PADI diving qualification Ella-Maria had to complete a series of dives including shore and boat dives while on a family holiday in Egypt.

Divers must be over the age of ten to complete the training course, and Ella-Maria started hers on the day of her tenth birthday.

She had to prove to the instructors that she could complete a number of different skills including clearing her mask and removing and replacing all her kit while underwater.

However she will have to wait until her 12th birthday before she can complete all the same dives an adult can, including cave dives.

Her father Reg Lopez, who is also a keen scuba diver, said that he was extremely proud that his daughter has gained the qualification at such a young age.

He said: "Things don’t faze her. When she is passionate about something she will achieve it. It is an admirable quality to have. She just did it and she was brilliant - it makes me so proud.

"You wouldn’t expect to see someone that small do it. I couldn’t have done it at her age.

"To see her do something like this with nothing other than a great big grin on her face is amazing. "

The young diver is already looking forward to getting back into the water later in the summer when the family head to Florida on holiday.