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MARK EVANS: Ray Woolley – an inspiration to everybody



I consider myself lucky that I have been diving for 35 years, since taking the plunge for the very first time at the young age of ten, but that number pales into insignificance when you look at the achievements of Ray Woolley.

The great-grandfather, who turned 96 on 28 August, has now been diving for a stonking 59 years, and last week he broke his own record as the world’s oldest active diver for the third year running when he dived the Zenobia roll-on, roll-off ferry out of Larnaca in Cyprus.

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Together with 47 other divers, Ray – a World War Two radio operator originally from Port Sunlight in the northwest of England but now settled on the Mediterranean island – descended to a depth of 42.4m for a total dive time of 48 minutes. His previous record was 40.6m for 44 minutes, which itself topped his 2017 tally of 41 minutes to a maximum depth of 38.1m.

Speaking after the dive, Ray said: “It’s just unbelievable. I've been diving now for 59 years, and these are the sort of dives that you remember because there are so many divers with you.”

But Ray is not ready to hang up his fins just yet. He aims to keep diving until he reaches 100 years old! So whenever anyone says to you they are too old to start diving, point them in the direction of Ray. He started shortly before turning 40, and look at him now!

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Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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