St Albans Sub Aqua Clubs anniversary diveathon

Scuba Trust member Howard Sobey with Roz Lunn and Laura Greene as they prepare to take part in a 24

Scuba Trust member Howard Sobey with Roz Lunn and Laura Greene as they prepare to take part in a 24 hour diveathon at St Albans Sub Aqua Club. - Credit: Simon Jacobs

SCUBA divers donned their wetsuits and oxygen tanks to take the plunge in a 24-hour charity diveathon at an open-air pool in the city.

Nearly 70 members of the St Albans branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) raised more than £1,500 for the Scuba Trust after completing a charity event at Cottonmill Swimming Pool.

And to while away the hours, the scuba divers played underwater hockey, hand tennis and even found time to read glossy magazines beneath the surface during the diveathon which ran from midday and continued through part of the night.

A barbecue which was held after the diveathon raised more than £60 for Help for Heroes.

The event was organised to celebrate the BSAC’s 60th anniversary and the reopening of the Cottonmill pool thanks to funding through Sport England.

The club rents the pool from the district council and the Sports England grant enabled leaks to be repaired and the refurbishment of the formerly unusable poolside changing rooms and showers. It means that the club can now offer it as a community resource for other groups including a canoe club.

Diving instructor Lisa Shafe, who was one of the organisers of the diveathon, said: “The whole event was fantastic, absoloutely brilliant, even if we are all shattered.”

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She said the aim was to have 60 divers in the pool over the 24-hour period and in the end, 68 took part. The combined dive times of all the divers amounted to 72 hours 20 minutes.

Lisa went on: “We had a target of raising £1,000 toward the work of the Scuba Trust, which helps people with disabilities enjoy diving, and we have easily topped that total through our online charity giving site and pledges.”

She added: “As a club we couldn’t be happier; we have raised a fantastic sum for the Scuba Trust, attracted some new members to the club and also supported Help for Heroes.”

Mary Tetley, chief executive of BSAC, said: “I am always amazed at the events and adventures that BSAC clubs get involved with and the St Albans diveathon is right up with them.”

The pool can trace its history back to 1901 and among those who went along and tried their hand at scuba diving during the diveathon was St Albans Mayor, Cllr Annie Brewster.