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Deptherapy Ambassador Ben Lee wins Endeavour Fund Award

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At a special Awards Ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London last night, inspirational Deptherapy Programme Member and Ambassador Ben Lee was one of three wounded ex-servicemen honoured to receive an Endeavour Fund Award in the presence of HRH Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle.

Ben Lee, a former Sapper in the Royal Engineers, who lost both his legs and suffered other catastrophic injuries whilst searching and disposing of IEDs in Afghanistan in 2011, was presented with The Recognising Achievement Award.

The Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund supports wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women and encourages them to rekindle their fighting spirit through sporting and adventurous endeavours. The Recognising Achievement Award is given to the individual, who in the judges’ opinion, has best utilised their endeavour experience to promote and catalyse their recovery.

Ben Lee at Roots Red Sea, Egypt. Photo – Dmitry Knyazev for Deptherapy.

Ben was introduced to scuba diving through UK diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy when he completed his PADI Open Water Diver course on a specialist training programme in Egypt in 2016. Double-amputee Ben’s achievement is all the more incredible due to the fact that he had drowned in a swimming pool as a child and although successfully resuscitated, the experience had left him with an overwhelming fear of water.

With the close support of his Deptherapy team mates, diving instructors and fellow wounded veterans, Ben overcame his fears and discovered the power of scuba diving to both heal and rehabilitate. Since passing his Open Water course with flying colours at Roots Red Sea, Ben has progressed rapidly through the PADI Continuing Education programme, subsequently completing his Advanced Open Water, Deep, Wreck, PPB and SMB Specialties, as well as his Rescue Diver course. Ben is now a PADI Master Scuba Diver and a trainee Divemaster.

Not only are his personal achievements awe inspiring but on completing his Open Water Diver, Ben stated that he wanted to “give back to the charity.” His commitment to helping and inspiring others has made him the ‘go-to-guy’ for new Programme Members and he has become an active Ambassador for both scuba diving and the Deptherapy charity.

Most recently, to enhance his ability to help others, Ben and his partner Sophie attended a two day Deptherapy Mental Health First Aid Course for the Armed Services’ Community.

On receiving The Recognising Achievement Award, Ben said:

“This has been an amazing journey and I am so honoured to have been selected to receive this Award amongst so many incredible individuals… but this Award isn’t about me. It is about Deptherapy and all my brothers and sisters in arms that the charity helps and supports. None of this would have been possible without the support of Richard Cullen (Founder and Chairman of Deptherapy) for whom I have the utmost respect. Deptherapy is a small charity, run entirely by volunteers. I personally don’t know how they do so much, with so little income. Richard and the Deptherapy Team have changed my life, just as they are changing the lives of many others.”

The Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund contibuted funds that enabled the charity to run an additional Open Water Diver training course in 2017 to reduce the ever-growing waiting list of injured and wounded ex-service personnel wanting to join the Deptherapy specialist programme. The charity is now actively seeking funding and sponsorship to continue being able to offer its life-changing programmes in 2018 and beyond.

Find out about the work of Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish.

For more information, visit www.lungfishdivesystems.com and www.facebook.com/divelungfish

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… A career in diving

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A career in doing something that you love… I have heard so many times that diving is just a hobby and not a career. A career by definition is ‘an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.’

I started diving at the age of 17. I became a PADI Divemaster and from this point progressed to an Open Water instructor, to Staff Instructor, to Master Instructor, to Course Director. Surely by definition this is a career path? The only difference (in some cases) that would dispute this matter… the controversial subject of pay!

I am 100% not going to say that no dive centres in the world pay. I myself do, and I know others that do, too. It does however seem to have become very much the norm, that the ‘because I enjoy it’ philosophy has eradicated the UK diving career path for years. Divers volunteering their help for little or no reward (again… not everyone before you stop reading). To eventually realising, that they are doing hard work, for not much to gain… even paying to carry on doing courses, and to become an instructor to work for that centre. What is all that about?!

If you are the type of person to be happy with that, that is completely fine, so long as you are happy. I was at one point… and then realised that I had invested a lot of my time and money, and when this realisation hit, started to feel undervalued. The instructor I was ‘working for’, for a free hot chocolate at the end of the day, would sit in the cafe whilst I taught in the 3 degree waters in the middle of winter. Obviously the paying customer had booked his course through this person and not me… I was happy with a hot chocolate and having fun… but aren’t all of the best careers the ones that we do not see as work. They aren’t all volunteer roles. 

Those of you looking for a career in diving, don’t be put off. There are places that you can work, and a career in diving can literally take you all across the world. Those saying that there is no money in diving… ignore those guys too. There is. Obviously working for free is never going to get you there, but if you want to do it, then do it. There are plenty of places not only looking to employ scuba instructors, there are other jobs at aquariums, conservation roles, the Navy and many others for you to take a look at. 

There are also grants to look at for education, the open water instructor course, or anything else after that is not exactly cheap… but still nonetheless worthwhile.

So, please do not take away the fact of diving being a career. It is. The only thing that I will leave you with (dropping a bombshell), is that if we accept the fact of ‘working for free’ then it will never change and still be hard to make a career in diving… I mean, of course there is limited need when there is still the alternate option for a business to have free labour. 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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