BASINGSTOKE Sub Aqua Club marked its 50th anniversary in a splendid celebration of half a century of underwater exploration and camaraderie.

The celebrations, held on Saturday, October 14, included a dinner held at the Weybrook Golf Course, bringing together members who have been part of this diving community over the past five decades.

Throughout its illustrious history, the Basingstoke Sub Aqua Club has remained dedicated to its mission of training young enthusiasts to embrace the enchanting world beneath the waves.

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Sub Aquad Club members with the club boatBasingstoke Sub Aquad Club members with the club boat (Image: Contributed)

Members have ventured to various corners of the globe, from far-flung international destinations to closer-to-home expeditions along the mesmerising South Coast, spanning from Hampshire to Cornwall.

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Some even journeyed north to explore the intriguing remnants of the scuttled German fleet in Orkney and the captivating underwater wonders of Scotland.

Not just adventurers, the club's members have also been keen researchers.

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Sub Aqua Club members in action in the pastBasingstoke Sub Aqua Club members in action in the past (Image: Contributed)

They delved into the mysteries of the sea and clinched the last Duke of Edinburgh award for science before it was retired.

The inception of the Basingstoke Sub Aqua Club dates back to the pioneering efforts of a 29-year-old Major John Gaff, who, despite being posted to take charge of bomb disposal in Northern Ireland and eventually earning the George Medal for bravery, remained driven by his passion for diving.

Basingstoke Gazette: Steve LeFlem, a founder member of the clubSteve LeFlem, a founder member of the club (Image: Contributed)

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He convened a meeting at the Sports Centre, leading to the establishment of a unit under the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), with branch number 609.

Over the years, the club's members have embarked on thrilling underwater adventures, forging lasting friendships and unforgettable memories as they explored the mysteries of the deep. 

Chairman David Herbert, reflecting on the club's remarkable journey, said: "It's people that make a club, and although some of them faded away over the years, we still value the contribution they made that got us into our fifth decade.