Popular Ripon group celebrates 10 years

NARG 1211032AM2 Scuba diving for all. Yvonne Covell and The Mayor of Ripon Andrew Williams present a delighted Martin Grainger with his certificates, also in the picture is Martin's mum Margaret(1211032AM2)
NARG 1211032AM2 Scuba diving for all. Yvonne Covell and The Mayor of Ripon Andrew Williams present a delighted Martin Grainger with his certificates, also in the picture is Martin's mum Margaret(1211032AM2)

A charity set up to allow people with special needs to scuba dive celebrated its 10th anniversary this weekend at Ripon Town Hall.

Scuba Diving for All, formed with the aim of providing affordable diving tuition for people with or without special needs, held a presentation evening to thank volunteers and members of the public for their time and support.

Yvonne Covell, 60, who founded the charity 10 years ago with her husband Archie, 72, said: “The evening is about saying thank you to the volunteers and the public for giving people the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t normally have the chance or the confidence to do.

“It’s surprising what our pupils can achieve. People with disabilities can do things under the water that they would never be able to do otherwise. Diving allows them to do things that able-bodied people can’t do.”

Yvonne and Archie, who have been married for 33 years and are still active divers, also use the charity to train able-bodied diving enthusiasts at Ripon Spa Baths.

“We wanted to be able to train people in an environment that wasn’t rushed and didn’t cost the earth. There was no-where for diabled people to go and we questioned why. But we don’t discount anybody,” said Yvonne.

Winners on the night included Martin Grainger, pictured, Kim Williams, Elizabeth Hemingway, Josh Murphy, Nat Maynard, Christopher Stanfield, Jack Powell and Richard Armitage, who were all presented with a certificate from Mayor of Ripon Andrew Williams.

The charity raised £814.13 on the night – despite not being a fundraising event.

Instructor Trevor White, who has been teaching at the club for eight years, said: “Everybody’s a winner in a way. It’s a unique charity and we have nothing like this anywhere else in the country. It makes a real difference to people’s lives and gives them such a confidence boost.

“Enthusiasm keeps us going – and will hopefully keep us going for another 10 years.”