The salty ol’ sea dog! Grandfather-of-three, 74, becomes Britain’s oldest scuba diver

Grandfather of three Brian Wall who is a newly qualified diver with BSAC at the age of 74
Grandfather of three Brian Wall who is a newly qualified diver with BSAC at the age of 74

Pensioner Brian Wall is a real old sea dog – after qualifying as Britain’s oldest ever scuba diver.

Grandfather-of-three Brian, 74, only took up the sport a year ago with his daughter Jackie, 47, and grandson Sean, 13.

But just twelve months later Brian has completed the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) ocean diver certificate.

Grandfather of three Brian Wall who is a newly qualified diver with BSAC at the age of 74
Grandfather of three Brian Wall who is a newly qualified diver with BSAC at the age of 74

Retired engineer Brian is the oldest pupil BSAC instructors have even known to successfully pass the award.

Incredibly, Brian made the grade despite being more than three times older than all the other learner divers in his group.

And now Brian has his certificate he is going to do his first sea dive this weekend at Newhaven beach in Sussex.

Brian yesterday (Mon) said he hopes to continue diving and earn the sports diver qualification.

Brian under the water as Britain's oldest scuba diver
Brian under the water as Britain’s oldest scuba diver

The father-of-two said: “I have always enjoyed swimming and we spent many family holidays at the seaside.

“When my daughter mentioned trying diving I wanted to take up the opportunity.

“The other people in the group were surprised when I first joined the club. I think they thought I was just trying it out and would not stick it out.

“But I loved the challenge of learning something new.

“We were worried how I would manage the open water as it is much colder, but I do not feel the cold badly and was fine.

“The instructors were also concerned about whether I would manage the weight of the weights and tank, but I am strong enough.

“My age has never put me off. When you retire you look around for hobbies to fill your time and now I have found mine.

“The instructors have been fantastic and supported me all the way.

“I haven’t done an exam for such a long time, but luckily my memory is still good and I passed.

“There are some divers who are older than me, but I understand I am the oldest to take it up.”

Brian, from Basildon, Essex, started diving lessons at Pitsea Pool in Essex with Basildon Sub Aqua Club last year.

His daughter and grandson took part in a trial dive, but Sean had to give up diving due to ear problems.

Despite being in a group made up of 20 year olds Brian stuck at the weekly lessons and was awarded his ocean diver certificate this month.

He had to complete a multiple choice theory exam as well as assessed dives in a swimming pool and in lakes and quarries to achieve the award.

Brian’s wife Patricia, 71, said: “I think he is crackers. We have been married for fifty years and he has only decided to do scuba diving now.

“But Brian says he should take up the opportunity now he does not have the children to look after and he has more free time – although we do have the grandchildren now.”

Mary Tetley, chief executive of BSAC, said: “Our membership comes from a broad cross section of society to be honest.

”There are Royal Mail workers, builders, police officers, finance sector managers and probation officers.

“Our youngest diving member is just 14 while Brian is of course our oldest active member.

“If Brian can learn to dive and become a qualified Ocean Diver at 74, there’s no reason not to give it a try.”

The adventurous OAP has dived in a six metre deep pool at The Underwater Studio in Essex.

He has also taken part in outdoor dives in a quarry at the National Diving Centre at Stoney Cove, Leics.

BSAC is the UK’s national governing body for the sport and has more than 1,000 branch clubs up and down the country and abroad.


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