Brian Boothroyd PPrGSD and the DC of Victoria Lodge No 4629 in the Widnes Group of lodges, has successfully completed 300 sponsored SCUBA dives towards the tercentenary celebrations of Grand Lodge.
When asked why he choose to do the dives, Brian said: “I wanted to do something different towards these celebrations, I’ve seen people in the past walk 300 miles, cycle 300 miles or other challenging events for charities. As my hobby is diving, I decided to undergo 300 SCUBA dives.”
Brian is an enthusiastic diver and has been diving for 40 years has completed over 3,000 dives in this time and has also been a diving instructor for 20 years or more, and is a retired college lecturer in Widnes.
The marathon task for Brian started in March 2016, completing the first 100 dives throughout that year, mostly in the colder waters that are in slate quarries and the costal seas around the U.K. Brian has had the opportunity to dive in many venues throughout the world, spending a lot of his spare time at his unadopted second home in Malta, helping out at one of Malta’s premier dive centres, ‘Dive Deep Blue’ which is owned and run by one of his ex-students Jonathan Thomas.
When he is not diving, Brian is a very active Freemason, who holds down many offices in the many lodges that he is a member of, and has been well supported and sponsored by the brethren within the Widnes Group of Lodges and Chapters.
The 200th dive was achieved on while on holiday earlier this year, when he and eight other divers/ mates from his local dive club enjoyed a relaxing holiday on the motor vessel ‘Cyclone’ which is a live aboard vessel and operates in the Red Sea off Egypt. They all celebrated this milestone with a few glasses of ‘water’, after the dive with the members of the crew on Cyclone.
So, to the most important dive of them all the 300th and last one. Brian quoted: “This dive was completed late on in 2017 in my ‘second home’, Malta, on a tanker which is very close to my heart as it had a very sad experience to end its working service.
The ‘Um El Faroud’ was a medium size tanker that was being refitted in the Grand Harbour Valletta, when an explosion occurred which killed nine Maltese dockyard workers. This tragic event shocked the people of Malta and devastated the lives of those dockyard workers friends and families. I dedicated my final dive to the nine ship workers who lost their lives on that awful day.”
The tanker was scuttled 3 years after the explosion to form an artificial reef in memory of the nine ship workers, and to form a dive site which 1,000s of divers have visited in the last 19 years.
Brian completed the dive with Eric Mitchell of Garden of England Lodge No 6583 who meet in Maidstone, Kent. Brian’s 300th dive culminated alongside the memorial plaque that has the names of the nine workers who lost their lives on that awful day. The plaque is now fixed on the wheelhouse of the tanker for visiting divers to admire and look at.
A big thanks to Johnathan and his staff for their support and sponsorship in completing the dives within the Maltese Islands and the brethren of Widnes Group in helping raise £500 for charities. £200 will be donated to MCF 2021 Festival and £150 will be donated to each of Valiant, a special needs gymnastic group that meets in Widnes Leisure Centre and Claire House Children’s Hospice.