Batley soldier leads the way on charity scuba dive

Tom Oates with an instructor.
Tom Oates with an instructor.

Soldiers injured in combat during overseas tours will join to take a dive for the charity that continues to help them next month.

Batley’s own Tom Oates has played an instrumental role in the organisation of a 24-hour scube dive to raise money for Deptherapy, an organisation that supports ex-servicemen who have suffered life changing physical and or mental injuries and illnesses through specially-designed scuba diving programmes.

The therapy has proven hugely significant for a large number of ex-servicemen.

The therapy has proven hugely significant for a large number of ex-servicemen.

And Tom himself has benefitted from the care Deptherapy provide after the vehicle he was driving while on tour with the Scots Guards in Afghanisatan was blown up in 2013.

Months later tragedy struck again when his fiancee was killed as the two of them crossed a road, an incident that left him at breaking point.

“I was diagnosed with complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” he said, “and I really struggled. I just couldn’t process what had happened to me.”

Tom attempted to take his own life and underwent a course of more traditional therapies, but it is the work of Deptherapy that he praises with turning his life around.

He said: “They’ve been amazing. It’s been a really incredible few months with them. When I’m underwater I feel like all my problems have gone away.

“It’s an ongoing battle but the diving has just been so good for me.

“If it was not for this charity I myself would not be here today. Deptherapy have brought me back from the darkness and made me the person I am today.”

His achievements in the pool have inspired him to chase a new career as a scuba diving instructor, and he hopes to be able to one day contribute to Deptherapy practises in a teaching capacity.

A number of former servicemen will take part in the sponsored dive alongside regular diving enthusiasts, taking it in shifts to ensure the 24 hour-mark is passed.

The event will take place at the Robin Hood Watersports facility in Heckmondwike from midday on March 16.

Anyone wishing to support their efforts can do so by visiting the fundraising website at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/deptherapy24hour.