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  • Scuba dive is plane sailing for grandad!

    Ollie Cowan

    A SCUBA diving grandad has helped a resort club celebrate half a century of underwater adventure!

    Peter Markham, 71, joined his friends at Southport Sub-Aqua Club for a special dive to celebrate the milestone.

    Southport SAC which is part of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), gathered fifty scuba divers - one for each year of their existence, to join Peter on their anniversary dive... on the submerged wreck of a plane!

    Peter was one of the first members of Southport SAC back in 1967 and still actively dives with the club.

    Fellow Southport SAC member Mae Dorricott, 22, was the youngest member to join the 50th anniversary dive on the wreck of a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 aircraft, at Capernwray Diving Centre in Carnforth.

    Diving has given Peter lots of memorable moments. He said: “Diving has been, and remains, a big part of my life.

    “In those early years it wasn’t a case of shall we go diving next weekend? We just dived every weekend, summer or winter, regardless.

    “In summer we dived in the sea and in winter, in lakes or quarries. I’d clocked up 600 dives before 1975.

    He added: “Money was in short supply and we came up with all sorts of ideas to raise cash including wearing silly hats with a pound fine for anyone who turned up without one.

    “We also did ‘skinny’ dips - after a dive we’d jump in just wearing swimming trunks, which became a tradition and is something we still do today.” Southport Sub Aqua Club’s diving officer, Stephen Dorricott, 59, who is also young diver Mae’s dad, said: “I was trying to think of ways we could celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary and I came up with the idea of getting 50 people to do a dive on the plane.

    “Everything went according to plan although it’s not easy planning for 50 divers to be in the water at one time. We each made a donation to raise funds for Southport Lifeboats too.

    “It was a lovely way to mark our anniversary.”

    BSAC Chief Executive Officer, Mary Tetley added: “Diving is an amazing activity which people of all ages can get involved in. I hope the club will continue for another 50 years.”

    The club train at Dunes Leisure Centre.

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