Blind scuba dive breaks a record

Graham Owen broke the blind scuba dive record.
Graham Owen broke the blind scuba dive record.
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A man who lost his sight 16 years ago has broken the record for the deepest blind water scuba dive.

Graham Owen reached an amazing 111 metres - from the previous record of 105 metres - on his dive in the Red Sea in Egypt on March 10.

Mr Owen, who works as an estate support officer for WDH in Airedale, was raising money for Guide Dogs and in memory of his friend Paula Blakemore. Mr Owen lost his sight 16 years ago and now relies on his guide dog, Gypsy.

He said: “In 2007 I was lucky enough to be matched with my first guide dog Gunner and on Gunner’s retirement I started training with Gypsy. I am, however, one of the few who are lucky enough to have the benefit of a guide dog.”

Graham travelled to Egypt with two friends, Steve Arnold and Albi Roberts.

He added: “It went really well at one point I had a hand on each tectonic plate so I was touching Africa and Asia at the same time, it was amazing. There was quite a strong current during the dive and it was difficult for me getting down below the sea bed. However once we got down to depth I really enjoyed it and felt very comfortable. I am so pleased to have broken the record and all the support from home has been overwhelming.”

The cost of a guide dog is £50,000 throughout its working life. If Graham raises £2,500 he will be able to name a new guide dog puppy, which he would call after his first guide dog, Gunner, who helped him regain his mobility and confidence after he lost his sight. So far he has raised just over £1,300.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Graham-Owen8 or visit Airedale Service Access Point to sponsor Mr Owen.