Nick was a founder member of the Branch when it started in 1954. He was a businessman in Great Yarmouth and keen to discover the (then) new sport of Scuba Diving. He organised an exhibition in the Cinema in Yarmouth to raise interest in a club and several people signed up. There was little commercial equipment available so members made their own wetsuits. You would lay on a sheet of neoprene fabric and get someone to draw round your body as a pattern, then glue the cut-out bits together. Demand valves were made from regulators off Calor Gas cylinders, and Lifejackets had to be blown up orally, if they were worn at all!
A lot of early dives were in local rivers and pits. Sea dives were usually a swim off the beach into the current, and then a drift back hopefully to where you started. The very used ex-millitary inflatable boat, powered by a 3hp Seagull two-stroke engine, enabled exploration of the “Gullies” at Sheringham. Much to Nick’s amusement there was a lot of publicity about the discovery of a “Great chalk reef” off the Norfolk coast in 2014 – he had been diving it for years.
The Club grew in numbers and holidays were organised to Devon and Cornwall. A weekend trip involved travelling overnight by coach, diving Saturday and Sunday, then returning late afternoon and overnight again, ready for work Monday morning.
Nick ran a successful Commercial Diving company and did a lot of developmental work for early North Sea diving companies including decompression chambers. He had an amazing collection of equipment from “the old days” and gave extremely interesting talks to the Club.
His son, Andy, developed a dive resort in the Philippines and Nick and his wife, Joyce, spent many happy holidays there with their extended family. Nick reluctantly gave up diving when he turned 80 saying modestly he “didn’t want to embarrass anybody”. He and Joyce continued to enjoy snorkelling.
Sadly Nick died in 2021, but will be fondly remembered by family and friends, particularly for his great contribution to diving with East Anglian BSAC 11.