Paul Birkin

Paul Birkin About Me:I currently look after the Hellfins boats. I wanted to give something back to Hellfins, that is a great social club, with excellent instructors all giving their time for free to teach. I’m the one in the pub cherishing a pint of cider and waxing lyrical about warm water diving and skiing.
Diving with Hellfins: I joined Hellfins just over 10 years ago, just after moving down to London, having stumbled across the pool, and having never dived before. After the try dive I decided to join, with a view for using diving as a great excuse to go on some foreign holidays to places I’d not been to before. I’ve certainly managed that and done a lot of short trips in the UK which have been great too. The actual diving underwater is only a small part of the trip, and the rest of the time is spent socialising, exploring…
Me and Hellfins: I’ve helped out with the club having been Chairman a few years ago and have also been membership secretary, and am now responsible for our boats. I’m proud to have helped initiate the annual ski trip in Hellfins, which has now been a regular event for over 7 years, and is often the most populous trip of the year. The social side of the club is what makes it a great place, you get out as much as you put in. During my time in Hellfins I’ve managed to collect an Instructor qualification, and have had holidays in some fantastic parts of the world. I’ve made some great friends through Hellfins.

Matt Williams

Matt Williams About Me:
There are definitely better pictures of me out there. Please! And how is it that you managed to pick the only picture of me that fails to show just how tall I am? Seriously though, I’ve been diving for about 10 years now and love it. And Hellfins is a great club to be a member of. We’ve got members who are interested in all aspects of diving so it’s easy to find other people that want to do the same sort of diving as you. Plus the social side is pretty good. Just don’t blame us if you wake up with a hangover and an empty wallet!
Diving with Hellfins:
I joined Hellfins about 8 years ago after learning to dive in warm tropical waters with PADI. Still love tropical diving but Hellfins has taught me how to dive in the temperate waters around the UK and I now enjoy that just as much, if not more. I’m currently an Advanced Diver, which means my diving is pretty adventurous, plus I can run club trips to locations not usually dived by the club. I’m also one of the clubs Instructors. Dive as much as my wife and wallet allow, which is actually far more than either of them should let me.
Me and Hellfins:I was so impressed with the training that Hellfins and BSAC gave me that I’ve been involved as one of the Training Officers and as the clubs Diving Officer in recent years.

Debbie Sargent

Debbie Sargent About Me:
Hi – I’m Debbie, I’m 31, I work in the travel and music industries and I’m an adventure addict.
Diving with Hellfins:
I joined Hellfins in Feb 2011, having done a PADI course in Thailand and instantly fallen in love with diving. I’m an absolute wimp, I hate the cold, but with all the right equipement and regular supply of tea and biscuits I’m perfectly happy diving in the UK. I love that diving is such an immersive (no pun intended) sport – when you’re underwater, you’re entirely present, there are no phone or email notifications beeping, you’re not worrying about the past or present or whatever crap is going on in your life, it’s just you and the sea. It’s such a privilege to explore a world that not many people see, and this feeling of exploration is what keeps me coming back time after time. Unlike a lot of warm water diving, you never quite know what you’re going to find down there in the UK. Maybe, just maybe, that next dive will have 25m visibility, basking sharks, an intact wreck AND an octopus. Yes, maybe the next one….
Me and Hellfins:
You can be involved as much or as little with the Hellfins as you like but you definitely get out what you put in. I jumped right in and found a great bunch of new friends here, who I know will be up for all kinds of other adventures too – we’ve been skiing, wakeboarding, bouldering, ice-skating and all sorts with these guys, and actually I met my future husband here too. I loved the BSAC teaching style of treating you as an individual, and giving you all the support and training you need to become a great diver. Though looking back, it’s because they want buddies to dive with who aren’t going to be a liability to them! After a year or so in the club I wanted to start giving back to the club that had so carefully nurtured me, so first I became the social secretary, organising social events for the club throughout the year, then later I spent a year as the training officer. Now I’m a dive leader, I can also organise dive trips for the club and these days it’s my privilege to see the look of wonder and amazement on a new diver’s face when they come out of the water and go “that was awesome!!!