Diving deep into a skill

THE Victorians would have given any number of reasons why one might rejoice in the good fortune to be born British, writes John Botterill.

Gail Allaby, Todmorden U3A’s Queen of the Underworld, must certainly certainly have one: that one can never be further from the sea than 70 miles. Gail is a member of Pennine Sub-Acqua Club and encouraged Todmorden U3A members at the December general meeting by revealing that she took up diving at 60.

She entered the meeting in full diving gear, complete with tank, almost all of which she proceeded to take off to show what it takes to engage in this form of diving.

The weight of all this alone is not enough to combat natural bouyancy and Gail has to add another 14 kilos in order to be able to dive to the depths she wants. She was accompanied by her friend Sue, also a U3A member and in snorkelling gear, which is her preferred activity.

Gail then showed some photos taken in Cuban waters and those of Sharm-el-Sheikh. She explained ones which were clear and colourful were taken near to the surface as photos taken in deeper waters yield duller colours due to the reduced available light. She also treated her audience to some fine underwater video footage.

Fruit punch was served and there was a quiz with a difference - chair, Gwen Goddard, said: “It tested memories of key events from 1953 to 2011. I thought I had made it very difficult but had underestimated our members’ abilities. There were 59 questions, the winning group scored 55 and several others achieved over 50.”

To find out more about Todmorden U3A, call 01706 839176.

All meetings are accessible to people with disabilities - and your first visit is free.