East Lancs scuba divers plan second ‘silly’ stunt to raise memorial money

Blackburn Citizen: Divers prepare for an underwater stunt to raise money in memory of Duncan Priestley Divers prepare for an underwater stunt to raise money in memory of Duncan Priestley

A GROUP of scuba divers from Clitheroe are in training for an underwater five-mile relay in memory of one of their club members.

It will be the second sponsored charity challenge organised by the Ribble Valley branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club to remember Duncan Priestley, 59, from Accrington, who died in August from cancer.

Buddy pairs of around 20 scuba divers will use a relay system to cover five and a half miles of Lake Coniston in the Lake District on Sunday, July 13, in aid of the RNLI.

Last year, the club raised more than £2,200 for Pendleside Hospice in Duncan’s memory after taking on a series of underwater challenges.

The dad-of-two was born in Rawtenstall and had lived in Nelson and Accrington.

He met his wife at Accrington and Rossendale College, where they both worked.

Fiona Imlach, the club’s training officer, said: “It’s going to be quite a job scuba diving the length of Coniston underwater.

“We will be doing it in buddy pairs with divers keeping to a depth of six metres.

“The pairs will use a compass and will trail a surface marker buoy so the safety crew knows exactly where they are. We will have two rigid inflatable boats with the second one ferrying the next pair of divers.

“Duncan was one of our most active members, a hugely popular guy, always up for a laugh.

“That’s why, last year, we decided to do ‘silly’ things underwater to raise money for Pendleside Hospice where he spent his last days. The hospice was fantastic and even arranged for him to marry his partner, Joan.

“Last year we did all sorts of sponsored silly things such as an underwater gym session, underwater draughts, one diver wrote 100 lines, one ate lots of different types of fruit and one munched his way through a pile of sausages.

“We were thrilled with the amount we raised and decided to make it an annual event in Duncan’s memory with a different charity benefiting each year.”

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