Over my diving career of some 28 years I have been called many things, fruitcake lady, pickled onion lady, sweetie monitor, soup dragon, grumpy old bird, but I’m proud to be called “Training Officer”.

I started my diving career in September 1984 with the “A” test, progressed through snorkel training and then to SCUBA. Taking my
first open water dive at Swanage in June 1985. (This was after I had towed the boat from Reading and the rest of the divers had been out and dived Kyarra twice) I was not going to tow the boat home until I had experienced my promised first open water dive. The next week we went diving to Lulworth. I was hooked and rest is history. My inspiration in my early days of diving came from Steve Clarkson who was either DO or Chairman or doing something for the club.

I progressed to Sport Diver in 1985, Dive Leader in 1987 and then to Advanced Diver in 1989. In 1987 I returned to University and joined the Reading University branch alongside the “Town” branch, Reading 0028. It’s with University branch 0391 that I started to instruct as there were masses of trainees every year.

In 1989 I gained my Club Instructor.

In 1992, after much encouragement from Lizzie Bird and Jane Maddocks, I presented myself for the Advanced Instructor exam and assessments and I am now AI 1575. My DO at the time (not Steve) said I couldn’t do it because “I was a girl”. I think that was a red rag to a bull!

I have dived all over the world in many fantastic locations. Cornwall in the snow at Easter, Chuuk Lagoon, the Red Sea, Wales, Scotland and Scapa Flow, Ireland, Newfoundland and Bell Island Wrecks, lakes, ponds, rivers and quarries and with many great people, but there is a special sweet satisfaction to taking one of your “baby”divers into open water for the first time.

In 2005 I thought my diving days were over with the discovery that I had Breast Cancer. The 8 months without going diving nearly drove me nuts. I was soooo excited to get back into the water.

One of my few regrets is that for about 15 years I failed to keep a dive log. Since 2005 I have resumed a dive log. It is one way to be
true to yourself and record the good, bad and the really crappy days.

In September 2010, I was offered the opportunity to become TO of Reading branch 0028 again, some 20+ years after the last time. I
was reluctant at first to take up the challenge as it had been many years since I was actively involved with branch training although I
was more than happy to dive with anyone of any grade. This past 18 months has been a monumental relearning curve as there have been many changes since I was last TO. I have had my passion and enthusiasm reawakened by taking up the gauntlet offered to me. I knew that to undertake the job properly I would have to make a big ask to everyone to help and support me. Without the teamwork of my fellow club members I am nothing, just a lady with a notebook and a clipboard. I’m not saying it is an easy task but if you put a
great deal of effort in, you reap monumental rewards.

So don’t sit back and hope someone else will do the job. If you want an active thriving club you have to put in the ground work for others to build upon. Encourage and enthuse your fellow members. Be the listening ear, be the mentor, be the mad old fossil but keep on diving.

My mission statement is to enable everyone to become safe, capable,competent divers.

It’s teamwork that makes it happen and at Reading we are a great team!