Mince Pie Dive 2021

The annual Mince Pie Dive Day was a triumph this year! We had more divers and more supporters than ever before. You can see our massed ranks on the group photo which looks more like a school reunion than a dive day at Stoney.

There were 15 divers in all. Rather too many to list individually, but list them I will: Alastair, Angie, Andy D, both Chris Bs, Jon A, Natalie, Paul N, Peter T, a vast array of Simons: G, S and W and on a biblical theme we had Ben, son of Simon S and Joe, son of Simon G plus Ellie, Joe’s girlfriend. It was great to have two sets of father and sons being involved in the same event. Sadly this year I (Sally) was unable to join in the underwater part of the event as I had been struck down by sciatica—a condition not usually associated with someone as young and fit as I am (no rude comments please), so I can only take their word for it that the water temperature was a zingy 8 degrees and the visibility was great. Long may that last!

Between them the divers visited a great many of the objets d’art which grace the quarry, plus of course the seasonal addition of the Christmas tree, complete with baubles, lights and Christmas music. The photo shows Chris Butterfield and Andy Dale admiring the tree. As you can see below there was also an underwater visit by Santa Claus. Well, who can that be? Of course you will recognise Angie, the only diver I know who you can see is smiling on an underwater photo as opposed to the rest of us who look like pulverised frogs however much we are enjoying ourselves.

After the first dive it was time to get down to the serious business of eating the Festive Fodder which all had brought to share. This year was a unique occasion. Our Mince Pie Dive Day happened to coincide with Keith Bond’s 80th birthday and we were very honoured that he and Jeannie chose to come along and spend part of it with us. As most of you will know Keith (Bondi) was a founder member of our club back in 1974 and has been an active member ever since, so we couldn’t let this auspicious occasion pass without having a “Bit of a Do”. The photo shows Alastair presenting Keith with a photobook featuring photos of the many club trips Keith has been involved in over the years and a bottle of Champers, plus we had balloons, cake and a big birthday card signed by all. This is where I must come clean and say that most of the supporters who swelled our ranks were only there to celebrate Keith’s Birthday, not to stand in a car park whilst their friends dived. However, it was great to see so many members together, whatever their reason.

Not as many divers as normal did a second dive. I use the term ‘normal’ loosely, so a bit of regrouping of buddy pairs and threes allowed those that wanted to do another dip to do so. One pair who did two dives was Simon Steed and Natalie. Natalie is working hard towards achieving her Sports Diver qualification and with the assistance of Simon, our newest Open Water Instructor, she managed to get some more skills done. She also ably assisted me as Assistant Dive Manager both prior to and during the event.

My thanks to everyone who took part in the Mince Pie Dives this year, whether diving or coming along to socialise. For many it marks the End of Term before family orientated Christmas events take over. So, I look forward to diving with you again in 2022.

Best Wishes, Sally Richards.

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