24th September 1933 – 17th June 2021
Pam joined in the Argonauts on 5th October 1976 and did her first sea dive at Portland Harbour on 9th October 1977. Since then, she actively dived both in the UK and outside the UK until she retired from diving after her last dive in the Solomon Islands in November 2015.
Pam was a continual presence in the club throughout her diving life and even after she stopped diving. She attended the club nights and events more regularly than anyone else, taking a keen interest in the club’s activities, both above and below water. When committee meetings descended into chaos or when there was disagreement on some matter, Pam brought calm, through common sense and wisdom.
Pam had a lot of amazing stories to tell us, from her experience working as a teacher in the UK, Canada, Russia and Jamaica and also from her so many dive trips across the world, and kept inspiring us in many ways.
Sadly, she passed away in June 2021, after 45 years as an Argonauts member – our longest standing member. Her passing is a great loss to the club and we all miss her terribly, but her legacy lives on with us.
The eulogy below was written and presented at Pam’s funeral by Neil Konopka, an ex-member of the club and friend of Pam’s.
When I was looking to join a scuba diving club in London back in 1986, Pam was actually the first person I met when I came through the doors of the Oasis pool in Holborn where the Argonauts club was then based. Chatting with her it was clear that she loved diving, knew her stuff and she was very direct and no-nonsense! Within a few minutes she made me feel right at home. All divers like to tell tales of their underwater exploits, but it was immediately apparent to me then and continued to be true over the years that Pam had the best stories of us all!
Pam learnt to dive in the UK in 1977 which was a time when scuba diving was not necessarily considered by many as a sport suitable for women. The training back then was certainly more akin to a test of physical endurance worthy of the military, but Pam’s determination saw her through and she progressed up through the various grades. After just a couple of years she achieved the “2nd Class Diver” qualification. There was certainly nothing second class about Pam and I can imagine her raising an eyebrow at receiving that title. Learning to dive in the low visibility and cold water of the UK gave her skills, experience and confidence that she carried through her diving career.
Back in 1990 I dived with Pam in the UK near Poole Harbour. Visibility underwater was pretty grim and there was not much to write home about, but as always the overall experience was lifted by the time I spent with Pam discussing it afterwards in the pub over her favourite Scotch. That dive proved to be Pam’s last in the UK but she more than made up with an increased focus on diving across the world in exotic places like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Pam was a font of diving knowledge and always seemed to know someone in every part of the world.
Every year we used to tot up all the dives conducted by club members to figure out who would head the league table – inevitably despite the best efforts of many of us, myself included, Pam always came out on top – we all eventually got the message and just stopped counting.
As the clubs longest standing member Pam’s involvement in diving was not just confined to the water – she was active on the club committee in various roles and made a fine chairperson – certainly not one to be trifled with and woe betide anyone who could not get to the point quickly enough.
Pam dived and travelled the world well into her 80’s which is remarkable considering the physical effort that diving demands. Even after having some fingers crushed in an accident on a dive trip she did not stop. Her final but also her perhaps best dive trip was to the Solomon Islands just six years ago. In the end Pam did almost nineteen hundred dives – a testament to her seemingly bottomless well of energy, resilience and enthusiasm. After her stroke she continued to make the journey to and from the dive club unaided – then with the impact of COVID she still managed to attend the weekly zoom calls.
Diving is based around the buddy system – we dive in pairs, so you always have a partner in the water with you to help with problems and to enjoy and share the experience. Many of those here won’t have been in the water with Pam but regardless will have seen Pam’s kind, generous and caring nature. She was a great friend, always happy to chat and share a joke, but also ready to provide support and sound advice when needed. Although we are all going to miss her terribly, we will continue to be inspired by the way she lived her life and will fondly remember our adventurous friend.
Whether above or below the water Pam was the best buddy you could ask for.
Pam’s Diving Log
Joined Holborn Argonauts on 5th October 1976
- BSAC Snorkel Diver October 1977
- BSAC 3rd Class Diver 26th September 1978
- BSAC 2nd Class Diver 29th September 1981
- Royal Live Saving Society Sub-Aqua Bronze Medallion Examination 19th June 1978
- The “Abyssal Diver” certification
<The first dive, the last UK dive and the last ever dive>
|Date||Site||Max Dep.||Dive Time|
|The first dive (#1)||09-OCT-1977||Portland Harbour||12m||20mins|
|The last UK dive (#287)||23-JUN-1990||The Frenchman, Poole||4m||18mins|
|The last dive (#1867)||16-NOV-2015||Mbike Reef, Solomon Islands||19.8m||60mins|
The last UK dive:
Every time Pam mentioned her last dive in the UK, she said visibility was almost nil and it was a ‘crap’ dive…
The last ever dive:
Pam’s last dive was in Solomon Islands. Pam always said that it was her best ever dive trip she’d ever had. Everything was perfect in all aspects. The boat was excellent, crew was brilliant, other guests on the boat was nice and, of course, diving there was perfect! Shortly after this trip, she decided to stop diving.
Memories of Pam
Page added in August 2021
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