There’s always something so bitter-sweet about this time of year when you’ve lost a loved one, or are battling an illness within the family but stories like this one highlight the kindness and love we have…
Colin Clements, 60, from Woodley, Berkshire, is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer that will take his life in the near future. Knowing he would be unable to dive again, Colin donated his diving equipment to Deptherapy so that other divers could be helped by his loss.
When contacting Colin to offer his thanks for this brave and selfless gesture, Richard Cullen, Deptherapy Chairman, was made aware that Colin had a dying wish to undertake one, last dive. Richard, and Martin Weddell, owner of Divecrew, enlisted Colin’s friend Daphne Pearson to help, and set about planning how to make Colin’s last wish come true.
Colin’s last dive took place on Sunday 17th December at Eagle House School, Sandhurst. The dive was kept as a surprise for Colin until the moment he arrived at the swimming pool.
Two Deptherapy Programme Members offered to accompany Colin on his last dive and traveled to Sandhurst from their homes in Banbury and Bristol:
- PADI AmbassaDiver Gary Green, ex-Rifles, was blinded in the right eye by an IED in Afghanistan and suffers from acute PTSD. Gary is an Ambassador for Deptherapy, a Trustee of the charity, and a PADI AmbassaDiverTM. As a trainee Divemaster, Gary led Colin’s last dive.
- Chris Ganley, also ex-Rifles, served two tours in Afghanistan before suffering a devastating motorcycle accident that resulted in the amputation of his left arm and other serious injuries. Chris has received Colin’s donated buoyancy control device (BCD).
Gary Green said: “As a new trainee Divemaster, it was a huge privilege to lead the dive and an absolute honour to dive with Colin. I hope through this dive, Deptherapy and Divecrew, have made Colin’s Christmas special and helped made his passing easier.”
Chris Ganley said: “I thought I had been through some difficult times, but being with Colin was humbling as he talked about his death and what this dive meant to him. I don’t think words can describe what happened this afternoon. It was all so dignified and respectful to be with a man who is facing death with such courage.”
Colin spent about 15 minutes underwater with Gary and Chris, before unfortunately, being overcome with tiredness. At times during the pool session, the emotion was overwhelming for everyone involved, including Colin’s friends who had come to support him and watch the dive.
Daphne Pearson said: “You only have to look at Colin’s face to know that you have made his dream come true. I couldn’t believe how quickly you managed to arrange all this, and to get some of the injured soldiers to dive with Colin has really touched us all.”
Colin couldn’t thank Gary and Chris enough for accompanying him on his dive. Sadly, Colin’s speech is already affected by his illness but smiling from ear to ear, he said: “Today I am very happy; I have dived. I couldn’t have asked for any more. Thank you all so much.”