Toby’s Story

Stroke Watch Magazine Article – Issue 21

A Wonderfully Exhilarating Experience – and it’s open to all !!!

Toby Gower; our intrepid reporter gets some initial scuba training.

Toby's first dive

Toby’s first dive

AS I was reading through the Jan/Feb edition of the Able (Disability Lifestyle) Magazine one rainy and overcast day, I was intrigued to come across an article on ‘Active Diving’ that extolled the colours, weightlessness, wonderment and other virtues of Scuba Diving. Reading on, I came to understand that Scuba Diving is for everyone – able bodied and disabled alike! Further into the article, and by now completely fascinated, I discovered contact details and a pointer to getting further information about disabled diving.

Now, I am currently saving religiously for a three week holiday in Cairns, Queensland – and where I have been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to go (Disabled!) Big Game Fishing for Barracuda, Marlin and Tuna – but the new found chance to learn to Scuba Diving adds an even greater excitement. I now look forward to being able to join those fishes and to dive the Great Barrier Reef!

My first contact in pursuit of a suitable Scuba Diving course was Shaun at scubAbility, who proved a very competent, friendly and fun guy to learn with. Shaun runs a disabled diving school for all ages and abilities and he strives to give better access and enjoyment of Scuba Diving for all disabled divers. You can even tackle Scuba Diving while sitting in a wheelchair, such is the care and expertise provided by scubAbility.

Shaun advised me that the first and most important thing to do if I wanted to learn Scuba Diving was to get medical clearance, a signed certificate completed by my GP and certifying that I am fit to dive.

Stroke survivors are often dissuaded from Scuba Diving because of the pressures that can be experienced at some depths, so it is crucially important to be completely confident of your ability to dive safely. But don’t worry, you are never on your own – everyone dives with at least one other “buddy” diver.

Toby, having fun, making bubbles.

Toby, having fun, making bubbles.

Having got the clearance from my GP (perhaps because I suffered my stroke some 38 years ago, and because I have been active for many of those years) and confident within myself, I attended a free scubAbility run, ‘Discover Scuba’ session in Margate on 8th April – and was bitten by the bug!

I am going to go ahead and start an Open Water Scuba Course at the end of May. This will involve some classroom work and some indoor (swimming pool) work in learning the basics, and then onto Open Water work, either inland lake or sea diving. Needless to say, I am on cloud nine.

If, having read this, you want to discover more or even try Scuba Diving yourself – to experience something fantastic, without the aches and pains – visit

Toby recieves his diving certification

Toby receives his diving certification

Article Update

Toby has since gone on to complete his training with us, becoming a fully qualified diver.

He has subsequently realised his ambition and dived on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia!