A GROUP of scuba divers will undertake an underwater five-mile relay challenge at Coniston Water in memory of one of their club members.

It will be the second sponsored charity challenge which has been organised by the Ribble Valley branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) to remember Duncan Priestley, of Accrington, who passed away, aged just 59, in August 2013 from cancer.

Buddy pairs of scuba divers will use a relay system to cover the five-and-a-half mile lake on Sunday from 6am to 4pm and their aim is to raise a boat load of cash for lifeboat charity – RNLI.

Last year club members raised more than £2,200 for Pendleside Hospice in Duncan’s memory after taking on, what Fiona Imlach, the club’s training officer, describes as a few silly underwater challenges.


Fiona said: “It’s going to be quite a job scuba diving the length of Coniston underwater. We will be doing it in buddy pairs with divers keeping to a depth of six metres.


“The buddy pair will use a compass and will trail a surface marker buoy so the safety crew knows exactly where they are. In fact, we will have two RIBS (rigid inflatable boats) with the second one ferrying the next pair of divers.”

She added: “Duncan Priestley was one of the club’s most active members and was a hugely popular guy who was always up for a laugh. That’s why, last year, we decided to do ‘silly’ things underwater to raise money for Pendleside Hospice where he spent his last days.

“Last year we did all sorts of sponsored silly things such as holding an underwater gym session, played underwater draughts, one diver wrote 100 lines, one ate as many different fruits as possible and one munched his way through a pile of sausages!”

The Ribble Valley branch is part of the UK’s national governing body for scuba diving – BSAC.
BSAC is made up of 120 dive centres and 1,000 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad.

It represents more than 30,000 scuba divers and snorkellers and welcomes new members from complete beginners upwards including those who have trained with other agencies.
BSAC Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said: “BSAC is made up of lots of clubs like the Ribble Valley where fantastic friendships are made thanks to members’ passion for their sport.

“It is lovely to hear of how Ribble Valley are remembering their friend Duncan and the valued work he did for the club. It sounds like they are going to a lot of trouble to ensure the event at Coniston Water will be a safe and successful, if unconventional dive, and I wish them all the best with their fundraising.”