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Ipswich Diving Club celebrates 60th anniversary and oldest member’s 80th birthday

PUBLISHED: 20:00 29 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:52 30 January 2016

80 year old Bob Kessler who spent 60 minutes under water to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Ipswich Dive Club at Fore Street Swimming Baths, Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom on 28-January-2016 is pictured with four ladies who lifted him under water as part of the celebrations (from the left) Lynn Jansen, Clare Grifin, Bob Kessler, Frances Cook and Naina Mistry.
Picture: Stephen Waller 
www.stephenwaller.com

80 year old Bob Kessler who spent 60 minutes under water to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Ipswich Dive Club at Fore Street Swimming Baths, Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom on 28-January-2016 is pictured with four ladies who lifted him under water as part of the celebrations (from the left) Lynn Jansen, Clare Grifin, Bob Kessler, Frances Cook and Naina Mistry. Picture: Stephen Waller www.stephenwaller.com

© Stephen Waller

A popular diver from Ipswich celebrated his 80th birthday in style on Thursday, by taking the plunge for 60 minutes – one for each year of the club’s existence.

Bob Kessler, Ipswich Diving Club’s (iDive) oldest member spent a minute underwater for each year of the club’s existence at Fore Street Swimming Pool, to kick off the club’s 60th anniversary celebrations and mark his 80th birthday from Wednesday.

The veteran diver joined the branch, which is a part of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) in 1983 aged 46, as a means of keeping active after a knee injury in cricket, and took part in more than 2,000 dives across the UK, Malta and Corfu.

“I’m fine when I get into the water, all my aches and pains disappear,” the retired printing trade worker said.

“I can swim a few miles no problem, but I couldn’t walk a couple of miles with my false knee and false hip. I’m a lot more comfortable in the water than out of it.”

The evergreen great-grandfather of four put the secret to his longevity down to remaining active, and added: “I think having a good sense of humour keeps me going!”

The celebrations also included Mr Kessler being joined by other club members for a host of underwater activities including a game of cards, frisbee and swimming through hoops.

The club then recreated a photo opportunity from its 30th anniversary celebrations in 1986, with a group of female divers supporting Mr Kessler.

Spokeswoman for iDive Carol Wood said: “A lot has changed in the last 30 years, around 38% of our active diving members are now women. We’ve had an influx of new female members since Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign last year, and we wanted to celebrate that.

“It was really fun for everyone to help Bob celebrate his birthday. The images are a great record of how diverse the club membership is in 2016.”

The birthday celebrations have now whet the appetite of divers for a packed year of 60th celebrations, with some preparing for 60 dives this year and collaborations in the pipeline with other clubs celebrating their anniversaries.

BSAC chief executive Mary Tetley said: “The enthusiasm from iDive members in this special 60th anniversary year is testament to how much they love their club, and we wish them all the best in their various challenges.”

For more information and to find out how to get involved, visit www.bsac.com.

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