Leicester dive club adds some extra polish to Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

A French polisher who helped restore Windsor Castle after the devastating fire 20 years ago will be adding extra gloss to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

In his spare time the appropriately named Adam Waters is Diving Officer of Leicester Underwater Exploration Club, (LUEC).

The club, a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) of which Prince Charles is Patron, will be part of a historic flotilla on the Thames on June 3.

Adam, who applied on behalf of the club for a place in the pageant in March last year, was overwhelmed to find out that LUEC’s boat – known as Vixen – will be one of 1,000 vessels led by the Queen and members of the Royal Family aboard the Royal Barge, The Spirit of Chartwell.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant is one of several major events being staged to mark the 60th year of the Queen’s reign.

Every imaginable vessel will be taking part – from kayaks and dragon boats to the New Britannic, which carried thousands of World War II Allied soldiers to safety from the beaches of Dunkirk in June 1940.

Adam, 43, from Kibworth, said: “I heard about it on the radio and felt it was important that our club and BSAC in general were represented”.

“After all, Prince Charles is BSAC’s Patron and obviously the organisation is very closely connected with the water for all sorts of important reasons”.

“Divers from LUEC travel north, south, east and west every year to explore the beauty of the British coast so it seemed right to me that we should apply to be involved.”

LUEC was formed 53 years ago and with around 70 members is now the largest BSAC dive club in Leicester.

In 2005 the club won the coveted BSAC Heinke Trophy which is presented annually to the BSAC branch judged to have done the most to further the interests of its members and of BSAC.

Alison Allan, Adam’s predecessor as Club Diving Officer, said: “Thanks to Adam we have won a place for Vixen on the Diamond Jubilee Pageant which is a huge and exciting honour for us and has certainly sent a buzz around our club.

“We will proudly fly the flag not only for LUEC but for BSAC too. Our hard-working committee will spend the coming weeks liaising and planning for the great day.

“There are no more deserving people than those who quietly get on with the voluntary work that comes with running any branch of the BSAC.

“We give our time freely to teach diving, organise events and do the often dull, run-of-the-mill administration. Gradually, the mantle is handed on to another generation of divers and the branch lives on. That is LUEC’s story and I suspect many other branches work the same.

“We are a very family friendly club which reflects Leicester’s multicultural community and we strive to introduce as many new people to the sport of scuba diving as possible.”

In 2008, members of the club had their own royal celebrations when one of their members, Paul Morris, won the prestigious BSAC Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for leading a diving expedition to Isle of Skye the year before.  All club members who participated in the expedition were presented with their certificates at Buckingham Palace by the Duke himself and Paul was presented with the award medal, a replica of which takes pride of place in the club’s display cabinet.

Adam is also well polished at dealing with royalty and has had his own brush with the Queen.

After the devastating fire at Windsor Castle in November 1992, Adam and his company Terry Waters French Polishing, set up by his father 30 years ago, were called upon to restore all the ancient, damaged wood panelling including work in the Lantern Room and St George’s Chapel.

Adam said: “Windsor castle is everything you would expect it to be. It is very beautiful and full of some wonderful English oak but everything is there for a purpose despite the fact it all looks so grand.”

Further royal contracts have followed including Prince Andrew’s Royal Lodge home in Windsor Great Park which was left to him by his late grandmother, the Queen Mother, and his company has also carried out restoration work at Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and on the elegant and instantly recognisable carriages of the Orient Express.

Reflecting on his club’s selection for the Thames parade, Adam said: “I was overwhelmed when I finally found out we had been accepted. It really is the most terrific honour. I believe the last time the flotilla happened was around 350 years ago so it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something incredibly important historically.”

Mary Tetley, BSAC chief executive, said: “It was a wonderful idea to put the dive club forward to be part of the flotilla. I am so pleased they have been successful and BSAC will be represented in this noble and historic event to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

“BSAC was set up in 1953 and so we will be celebrating our diamond jubilee next year and with our own rich maritime history and association with the royal family, this news seems very fitting.”

Adam said: “I think the royals are a lovely bunch of people and the club is so proud to be part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations. The hard part is going to be deciding who will go because there are only 14 places on our boat.

“I think there will have to be a democratic ballot of some sort.

“Those not lucky enough to get a place will no doubt be enjoying a LUEC planned trip to St Abbs in Scotland the same weekend and I’m sure will catch up with the day’s events on the television and raise a glass to the
Queen on the 60th anniversary of her coronation”.

Would you like to learn to dive or try some snorkelling? Contact Leicester Underwater Exploration Club which has regular Try Dive sessions by emailing trydive@luec.org or visit www.luec.org

For more information on BSAC, go to www.bsac.com

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