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Thomas Wolsey teenagers take the plunge

PUBLISHED: 15:35 25 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 March 2010

TAKING the plunge was a real thrill for eight teenagers from Thomas Wolsey Special School in Ipswich.

The students, aged 16 to 19, went scuba diving at Crown Pools in a try-dive event, organised by members and friends of Sunstar Sub Aqua Club.

TAKING the plunge was a real thrill for eight teenagers from Thomas Wolsey Special School in Ipswich.

The students, aged 16 to 19, went scuba diving at Crown Pools in a try-dive event, organised by members and friends of Sunstar Sub Aqua Club.

This is the fourth time the club has worked with the school in this way, and it was plain to see that the pupils loved every minute.

"It was fabulous," said Mick Morley, spokesman for the club, which meets at Fore Street Pool on Monday nights.

"The try-dive made an amazing difference to the young people. They came out of the event with so much more confidence".

The huge smiles and excited chatter of the students, diving instructors and school staff showed how much fun and fulfillment everyone got from the experience.

Having the courage and trust to don the heavy equipment and actually breathe underwater is a major challenge for anyone, but so much more so for those with major disabilities.

Mr Morley said the club had pioneered the try-dive process, with advice from the British Sub Aqua Club, and is showing the way forward for others.

"There is a lot of interest and we had somebody from another club coming along to watch."

The try-dive process is a major team effort and involves a large number of people. Each try-diver has a "buddy" to be with them throughout and a nationally qualified instructor for their dive.

To make it even more special, underwater photographs are taken and included on certificates for each novice diver to mark their achievement, while more volunteers collect, transport and assemble the diving equipment.

Jeff Errington of Diveline loaned some special lightweight equipment and Brightstar donated mementos and gifts.

Ian Wray, head of sixth form at the Thomas Wolsey School, said: "It was a brilliant morning for students. They thoroughly enjoyed it and can't stop talking about it.

"It is such a big thrill for them. Some of the students have fairly limited mobility and so it is wonderful for them to go into the water."

Mr Wray said the event was part of the school's curriculum of outdoor activities, which also included sailing and visits to the climbing wall at Stowmarket.

For more information on Sunstar Sub Aqua, call Mike Saucede, the club secretary on 01473

623918, or visit the club website.

WEBLINK

www.sunstar.org.uk


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