David Wakelam has been named as Volunteer of the Year for 2023, after the organisation recognised his decades of service to BSAC. 

David – known as Dave to fellow Cardigan Sub-Aqua Club members and the many people he has taught to dive over the years – receives a £1,500 voucher generously provided by O’Three towards a new drysuit for his efforts.

He has been a member of BSAC since around 1974, a period of uninterrupted membership so long it pre-dates digital records which were only digitised in 1990. Any recognition of achievements before this date relies on paper records held by the individual or in the HQ archives, such as Dave’s membership number which begins with lead ‘0’ and confirmation from several colleagues that he has been a member for a very long time. However, confirmation of his involvement in senior volunteer positions is found in the 50th anniversary club book ‘The Club’ by Reg Valentine published in 2003. 

Dave Wakelam

A long history of volunteering for BSAC

During his decades with the organisation Dave has achieved BSAC’s highest diver grade award of First Class Diver (in the late 1990s) and BSAC’s highest instructional grade of National Instructor in 2003. He has also served in the following volunteer roles (approximate dates): 

  • BSAC Wales Area Coach (~1990 - 2000) 
  • BSAC Wales Regional Coach (2000 - 2005) 
  • NDC Open Water Chief Examiner (2008 - 2015) 
  • NDC Instructor Training Group Lead (2015 - 2018) 
  • NDC National Instructor Chief Examiner (2018 - 2020) 
  • NDC Technical Group Chief Instructor (2023 -– present)

Dave Wakelam

Furthermore, Dave has worked tirelessly on countless Instructor Training Scheme events since joining the ITS in the mid-late 1990s in capacities as:

  • Instructor Trainer
  • Instructor Trainer Coach 
  • Senior Instructor/Examiner 
  • Senior Instructor/Examiner Coach 
  • Chief Examiner (OWI and NI)

Dave Wakelam

Dai Atkins, BSAC’s National Diving Officer (NDO) said:

We have many thousands of members and instructors, and some significant numbers of Instructor Trainers who have all given their time and effort to our organisation to sustain our volunteer model and make it what it is today. But one area of recognition that is often overlooked is the long service to BSAC in more advisory roles, upholding our ethos, maintaining standards of product and service delivery, contributing to each and every area of product and service development and all the while doing so in a fully committed volunteer capacity.
In particular we are grateful for the use of personally obtained training, knowledge, understanding and skillset, as well as that gained from internal training and development through BSAC products and services – to act as a valued and respected advisor to all of our volunteers and remunerated staff equally, in a capacity on one of the most technical support arms of our organisation, that of National Diving Committee. 

Dave Wakelam

Helping to teach instructors as an Instructor Trainer

Dave WakelamOver the years Dave’s contribution to running Instructor Training Scheme (ITS) event levels has ranged from Open Water Instructor (OWI), Advanced Instructor (AI), National Instructor (NI), First Class Diver (FCD) and Technical teaching. His dedication to training higher level Instructors and Instructor Trainers will have had a significant impact on our membership growth areas by cascading down through our entire diver and instructor grade hierarchy which promotes ongoing development of divers and instructors to sustain the organisation. 

He has made contributions as an author and as a supporting subject matter expert (SME) to several of BSAC’s diving products. Dave has also provided links with external organisations by serving in executive and advisory roles on Welsh Association of Sub-Aqua Clubs (WASAC), and Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF) respectively, been involved in BSAC organised and externally operated diving project expeditions. He remains a committed member at branch level, serving to deliver diver training at grass roots level as well as communicate organisational wide standards, procedures and policies to branches and regional clubs. 

Dai concluded: 

In my role as NDO I am pleased BSAC Council have endorsed Dave Wakelam as Volunteer of the Year, it is well deserved.




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