Littlehampton woman plunges into National Hug a Plumber Day to raise awareness of women working in the male-dominated industry

A long-standing Littlehampton plumber is plunging herself into National Hug a Plumber Day to raise awareness of women working in the male-dominated industry.

Melissa Hubbard, who runs Mermaids Plumbing with her partner Ian Read, has 20 years’ experience in the plumbing industry and wants to use National Hug a Plumber Day to celebrate women’s empowerment, feminism and equality.

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She said: “I enjoy the challenge of being a female plumber because of the type of person I am. For the most part, being a female plumber in a male-dominated industry is like other trade jobs, where getting parts and problem solving is part of the work.

Melissa Hubbard being hugged by her boys and her friends’ children on Littlehampton beach to celebrate National Hug a Plumber Day

“The vast majority of men would rather get on with the plumbing. Obviously, there have been times where men have had a double take to make sure that their eyes haven’t deceived them and I am in fact a bird!”

Melissa got into plumbing after having an issue with some taps.

She explained: “I needed a plumber to change some taps and he charged me 90 quid for 20 minutes’ work, and I thought there’s no reason I can’t do that.”

She says her regular yoga classes give her flexibility and help her do her job better, especially when she’s upside down under a kitchen sink.

Her best experience in her job so far was fitting an Art Deco bathroom in Goring.

Melissa explained: “We took time over the design and the right type of tiles for my customer’s vision.

“The worst was having to cut out waste from a blocked kitchen. I can still remember the horrific stench.”

National Hug a Plumber Day sings the praises of the people who help us stay clean, give us fresh water and prevent flooding. It reminds people that many modern comforts are thanks to plumbers.