AGM 2020 – the Highlights

By Elaine Hendry

Friday 20 November saw Clidive holding its first ever remote Annual General Meeting, with 26 members gathering online to hear from  the outgoing committee, elect a new one and congratulate this year’s award winners.

Clidive’s Heinke submission

Despite the year feeling like a non-event in diving terms, it turned out that we had managed to operate almost as normal: we’d received and spent money, signed up new members and lost a few old ones, dived and trained (at least a bit), serviced kit, bought a van, had visits to the website, socialised as much as possible and even made a little progress on environmental issues.

2020 could even be viewed as a triumph, given that we won BSAC’s Heinke Award for the third time! OK – I’ll admit that’s the ‘glass half full’ view of life, but you have to take what you can at the moment.

And so to the highlights…


With expenditure down as much as income (no pool hire, less wear and tear on boats, van and kit), we end the year with a  reasonably healthy bank balance. This is mainly thanks to…


We have, inevitably, lost some members, but we still have 115 full diving members, and some of those who left may well rejoin in due course. We’ve also had a few new member enquiries that we’ve deferred until activity hopefully picks up in the new year.

Our gender balance remains wonky, with only a third of members (33%) being female. 27% of our full diving members are qualified at least to Dive Leader or equivalent.


Most of our trips were cancelled, but we did manage to run one hard boat day in July and four weekend trips in August-October, amounting to 11 diving days and one day of snorkelling. This compares to 70 days last year!

Numbers had to be kept small, so we only managed 114 actual person dives, compared with 983 last year. But everybody adapted admirably quickly to the new protocols and we learned a lot that will stand us in good stead as we plan 2021.


Socially distanced pool training

Despite lockdown, we managed to complete an Ocean Diver course and run two Sports Diver courses with 15 students. We also managed half the Dive Leader theory, with eight students and three ‘refreshers’ (any member can join a course they’ve already attended for free).

We’d almost managed to complete the Sports Diver poolwork when second lockdown began, and will aim to finish it as soon as the rules allow. We haven’t managed any open water training this year, but that will be a priority for next year, along with completing the Dive Leader theory.

We also ran a successful skills series called ‘The Complete CliDiver’, aimed at all qualification levels, covering topics such as weather, charts, boating hazards, emergencies and  – most importantly! – knots.


A new set of Covid rules was quickly developed for the kit cupboard, and some of the changes were so successful that we’ll keep them up post-Covid. We’ve saved a bit of money by not servicing all the kit and allowing some of the cylinders to go out of test.

Boats and Van

We still have two boats – although Yellow is currently having its tubes fixed – and two trailers, all of which have been serviced as normal. A small group of dedicated members also spent several Saturdays at Thurrock Yacht Club doing routine maintenance.

Most excitingly, we have a new van. ‘Orange’ has gone grey, and become ‘Clidive Shadow’, although we’re not sure if that will stick. Bosun Nick Harrison spent quite a bit of lockdown kitting out the interior so that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place…

The van is quite an upgrade in terms of features, and anybody planning to drive it should have a familiarisation session first. Since the van also needs to be driven regularly over the winter, all registered van drivers are encouraged to get in touch with Nick to organise a tour and a test drive. You can ring or WhatsApp him on 07784-617582.


Shark Trust Laugh and Learn Lecture

Pre-lockdown, we managed a muddy hike, a trip to (from?) the Escape Rooms and, most notably, Sharknasium – a ‘Learn & Laugh’ event that raised over £900 for the Shark Trust.

Lockdown didn’t stopped us socialising, with regular Thursday night get-togethers on Zoom enhanced by short talks from members and friends on a wide range of diving-related topics.

Currently being planned: an online Christmas Party – watch out for the invite soon.


People still keep visiting the website, although rather weirdly a lot of them are in the US and Brazil…

Self-portrait with seal – Environment Officer Marysya Rudska


We’ve obviously done our bit by not going anywhere or doing anything this year. Due to Covid, when we DID go diving, we used our own water bottles on the boat, which we refilled from a small number of communal bottles that were in turn refilled from the tap. We will definitely keep doing this in the future!

Marysya has plans for eco-lectures, eco-blogs and a Seasearch course next year, so watch this space.

DO Nick Barter & Chair Chris Wilson (in happier times)

New committee elected

  • Chair: Chris Wilson
  • Diving Officer: Nick Barter
  • Treasurer: Niovi Antoniou
  • Equipment: Rebecca Oliver
  • Secretary: Giovanni Corriga
  • Membership: Katy O’Connell

Other posts appointed by the Commitee:

  • Training: Mark Kelly
  • Diver Development: Elaine Hendry
  • Bosun: Nick Harrison
  • Webmaster: Mark O’Loughlin
  • Environment: Marysya Rudska
  • Social: Nick Allibone

Big thanks to: Neil Rickards, who leaves the committee having occupied almost every post; Ian Baker, who looked after the money so well as Treasurer.

Thanks also to Harriet Cross and Eleanor Partridge who left the Committee during the year; and huge congrats to Eleanor on the birth of Juno Grace, who’s been signed up for Ocean Diver in 2035.


Martin & Clarissa diving at West Bay

Diver of the Year 

For doing as much diving as they could,  improving massively as divers and working hard on behalf of the club…

 Clarissa Horilczenko & Martin Boxall

Trainee of the Year

For attending all the Complete Clidiver sessions, signing up to Dive Leader and teaching himself to splice so that he could help maintain the boats…

Soni Drew

Trainee of the Year, Soni Drew

Instructor of the Year

For ensuring not only that Clidive actually did some training, both online and in the pool, but that we were featured in Scuba for our Covid-safe pool training…

Mark Kelly

…and so to 2021

Newly elected Diving Officer Nick Barter is already busy planning the dive programme, which will be published at Christmas as usual. However many trips he plans, there will always be room for more, so please contact him if:

  • you would like to run a weekend in Plymouth on 19/20 June (a nice neap)
  • you have ideas for and/or would like to run a day boat or hardboat trip.

Nick Barter:

Zooming to a dive site on Clidive Blue – we can’t wait!

Posted in Dive Trips