Divers dip into tradition to see in 2014

thisisoxfordshire: Stuart Allen prepares to take the plunge. Picture: OX64368 Jon Lewis Buy this photo » Stuart Allen prepares to take the plunge. Picture: OX64368 Jon Lewis

WITH wet and windy weather most of us spent the first day of 2014 keeping warm indoors.

But members of Oxford Diving Club had a different way of welcoming in the new year – and it was far from warm.

The hardy divers took the plunge into the chilly Hinksey Lake yesterday morning.

It’s a decade-old tradition and harks back to the club’s beginnings in the 1950s when resources were scarce and members used to dive into lakes.

Members dive into Hinksey Lake as the clubhouse is based only 20 metres away and this year they retrieved an abandoned bike.

Wootton resident Chris Stevens, a lecturer at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, said: “It was an enjoyable day despite it being wet. People came out to watch and we had a good time.”

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Dr Chris Stevens, in yellow and black cap, and Rob Strongitharm use flotation bags to recover the abandoned bicycle.

Dr Stevens, 45, who has been involved with the club for 13 years, added: “It wasn’t as cold as it has been in the past.

“The lake is only three metres deep and then there is a couple of metres of mud at the bottom.”

Fellow club member Oliver Robertson, 38, from Headington, said: “It’s a nice way to start the new year and it’s always good fun.

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“There were quite a few large crayfish in the lake and it was interesting to see them all scuttling around.”

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