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Kingston & Elmbridge SAC celebrates 60 years underwater




Tolworth-based Kingston & Elmbridge SAC has just marked its 60th anniversary led by a president who is still a passionate diver at the age of 70.

The Kingston and Elmbridge branch opened in February 1955, with just half a dozen members hiring a small meeting venue in the local YMCA club.

sacNow the club proudly lists 85 members and enjoys regular underwater explorations as well as weekly meetings at the clubhouse it acquired 30 years ago after the construction of the M25.

Gerry Hassell joined the group at the age of 18 in 1963 and after 52 years is now the longest serving active member, and the current club president.

He said: “When I first started diving we made our own single skin 3mm wetsuits and dived with twin hose regulators with no non-return valves in and no buoyancy aids.

“Safety standards have improved immensely and everyone now receives comprehensive training. When I first started diving you were literally thrown in the deep end!”

Having enjoyed great success as a diver, Gerry has also seen the club accept various awards and accolades over the years.

He said: “Probably my proudest moment was under the guidance of Major Hume Wallace who was a marine archaeologist.

“The club won the Duke of Edinburgh’s award in 1969 for our marine research into the amphitheatre off the tip of Selsey and as a reward for our research Hume Wallace, myself and several club members were invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from the Duke of Edinburgh.”

As the club grew so did its need for premises and when work began on the M25 motorway 40 years ago this year, an opportunity presented itself to the divers.

Gerry said: “In 1985, we managed to obtain some land from Kingston Council. We then went on to purchase from Balfour Beatty one of their main office mobile units that was used on the construction site of the M25.

“We stripped the large cabin down, transported it to our new site off Hook Rise South, Tolworth, and re-erected it complete with a new roof and cladded sides. It remains our clubhouse today.”

Mary Tetley, BSAC Chief Executive, said: “We offer our warmest congratulations to Kingston and Elmbridge BSAC on reaching their 60th anniversary.

“Our organisation is made up of family-friendly, welcoming clubs up and down the country and abroad and it is thanks to the dedication of volunteers like Gerry that the clubs continue to thrive.”

For more information about the club go to

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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