Tom prepares to go the extra mile for charity

Dave Thompson in the water

Tom Coleridge on his first dive

Dave Thompson and Tom Coleridge going the extra mile for charity DGC270814

First published in News by

FOUR years ago the whole town rallied around war hero Tom Coleridge after he suffered life-changing injuries serving his country in Afghanistan.

But now the 22-year-old is looking for a different kind of support as he takes on a gruelling challenge in aid of Warrington Disability Partnership.

The Great Sankey man is following charity founder Dave Thompson's lead and scuba diving 64 lengths of Woolston Leisure Centre's pool on Saturday to raise £5,000 for next year's Disability Awareness Day (DAD).

He will be joined by qualified diver Dave, who will once again be taking on the swimming pool challenge but this year will also first take on two deep dives at Capernwray and Eccleston, and 10 other divers.

The 56-year-old, who sustained a a spinal cord injury 25 years ago playing American football and has limited use in his left arm and none in his right arm or legs, only started scuba diving six years ago after trying it on holiday but was soon hooked on the sport.

The assistant director of inclusion and partnerships at 5 Boroughs added: "The total weightlesness, ease of movement and total feeling of freedom was something I had not experienced for 19 years and since then I have never looked back and now done 115 dives.

"It's hard work and after 10 lengths my shoulder was knackered but you can see the other guys going back and to who wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me so that's what keeps you going.

"It's great to get Tom in the pool, hear his excitement and share the experience with other people."

The ‘Going The Extra Mile Scuba Challenge’ was first launched four years ago with Dave completing it last year in two hours.

Tom, who had his first go at scuba diving during this year's DAD, knew Dave from him playing American football with his dad and uncle and has now got his sights on Dave's job after being made disability information officer at the Centre of Independent Living.

He added: "My first go at scuba diving was awesome and I really enjoyed it.

"It was great getting out of the chair and doing something different and I'm looking forward to the challenge on Saturday."

On the day first time divers can also give the sport a try thanks to Cheshire Scuba Academy.

Visit justgiving.com/scubachallenge2014.

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