A WOMAN from Kidderminster had a chance encounter with the largest jellyfish in British waters while on a diving holiday.

Rhizostoma pulmo - commonly known as the barrel jellyfish due to its shape and size - is found in the Atlantic during the summer months.

At least two made their way to the south coast of Cornwall via the Atlantic, where Michelle Walton, aged 53, was on holiday with her partner Peter.

Michelle said: “When I went to Porthkerris beach I’d heard one had been sighted from fellow divers.

“It was a magical experience - it’s the way they move, more like a pulse and the tendrils have this amazing pattern up close.

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“One came close and swam around me and it didn’t collide with me so it must have sensed I was there but I felt no fear.

“When we reached the surface I was so pleased and almost cried with the emotion of it all.

“Peter told me later it was the largest species of jellyfish in British waters.”

She spotted the jellyfish on the last day of the holiday in June at the end of a 40-minute dive.

Michelle added: “I get to see stuff that people don’t get to see.

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“The diving training and the buying of equipment is expensive but once you have all of that, it’s just regular servicing and there is so much to see in the water around Britain.”

She is a member of the Worcester club Seastyle Diving.

Michelle, who works in marketing at The Shuttle's sister paper, the Worcester News, said: “I volunteer with the club for the children’s scuba class and I see this as a way to give something back.

“I love diving and want to inspire others to take it up.”