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UK woman born without arms becomes scuba diving ambassador



scuba diving ambassador

A UK woman who was born with no arms has been appointed as a scuba diving ambassador to encourage more women to take up the sport.

Laura Furness’ lack of limbs didn’t hold her back, and once the determined 34-year-old decided she wanted to try diving her local BSAC branch helped her achieve that ambition.

Four years later Laura, who lives with husband John in Rugby, has dived all over the country and abroad.

She said: “I’m pretty stubborn, so to be honest the reason I wanted to do it in the first place was mainly because people had told me I wouldn’t be able to as I have no arms.

“They said it would be a step too far, so naturally I was going to make sure I did it.”

Laura is a great role model for the This Girl Can campaign, which BSAC is backing as official partners of Sport England.

The campaign aims to encourage more women and girls to be active, and overcome the barrier of feeling self-conscious.

Laura is the fifth This Girl Can Dive Ambassador to be appointed by BSAC as part of the campaign.

She first tried scuba diving in a swimming pool in Chesterfield when she lived in Sheffield and, after moving to Rugby in 2012, soon joined her local BSAC branch – Rugby SAC – to continue the sport.

Having been born without arms or hands is an added challenge to Laura especially as communication underwater between divers is all done by hand signals.

She said: “It does give it an extra dimension but I’ve just created my own set of signals. It can be a bit tricky but that’s probably part of the appeal.

“There are more things I have to think about. For most people if you need to adjust your mask you just do it whereas I can’t but there’s no point worrying about things like that, you just have to get on with it.

“It’s probably more of a challenge for the people I dive with as I know my own capabilities but they have to get their heads round it.”

Since Laura took her first plunge in an indoor swimming pool she has enjoyed diving in the Maldives, surrounded by turtles, sharks and eels, as well as off the Northumbrian coast with seals.

She said: “Seeing sharks asleep at the bottom of the sea was pretty amazing, and playing with seals that were nipping at our fins.

“But I don’t care whether I dive in a swimming pool or open water or a quarry or the sea – for me it’s about the feeling of freedom you get from it.”

Only 27% of BSAC divers are women. If your dive club is interested in getting more women to join, BSAC have some tips that can help on their website. Find out more here.


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Veterans take part in Hadrian’s Wall trek to raise funds for their ‘Red Sea family’



A group of veterans from Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy have pledged to take part in a 40 mile expedition-style trek along historic Hadrian’s Wall this July to raise funds for the staff at Egyptian dive centre and resort Roots Red Sea.

The dive centre in El Quseir has been closed since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic last Spring and with Egypt now on the red list for UK travellers it is unlikely to be able to re-open in the near future. UK couple Steve and Clare Rattle, who own Roots Red Sea, have been supporting the 16 staff of the dive centre and their families but faced with an ever increasingly uncertain future, the Deptherapy beneficiaries wanted to add their support too.

Roots Red Sea is Deptherapy’s home from home in Egypt and the location where the charity’s majority of overseas training courses and expeditions are held. The facilities at the Egyptian dive centre and resort are a perfect fit for the charity offering an ideal combination of self-contained and fully adapted accommodation, as well as a team of highly trained staff.

Deptherapy normally runs 2-3 trips to Roots Red Sea each year but recent and planned trips continue to be a casualty of Covid. For the time being, training has shifted to UK waters, but their Egyptian family is never far from the minds of the Deptherapy Team.

“We’re hoping to raise £3,000 for the staff at Roots to support their families due to hardship caused by the pandemic,” explains Tom Oates, Deptherapy Divemaster, Ambassador and former Scots Guard.

“Deptherapy has been a lifeline for so many of us beneficiaries and an essential part of that journey has been our scuba diving adventures at Roots Red Sea. We view the staff at Roots as part of our extended families. They have become close friends. The welcome, service and care we are shown is unbelievable but now it is our turn to give something back. The staff at Roots have given us everything and have helped to save and change our lives. Now, they need our support.”

“This is an amazing endeavour from the guys at Deptherapy,” says Steve Rattle, who is organising the logistics of the trek which is planned to stretch over several days. “We have supported the charity for many years; it’s always been a delight to have them come to Roots and to see them really benefit from the experience. Now the tables are turned, and it is the families of Roots that are in need of help. It is really humbling to have Team Deptherapy now raising money for them. Awesome effort!”

The fundraiser is scheduled to take place from 12th -16th July 2021 starting from Heddon on the Wall in the east to Lenercost in the west. The route has been designed to take in a variety of features including many historical sites such as the Roman Army Museum at Greenhead.

Please give generously to sponsor Team Deptherapy in their quest to raise £3000 for the families of Roots Red Sea at the special JustGiving Page:

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

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

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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