11:35AM, Thursday 21 January 2021
Maidenhead Eton and Windsor Sub Aqua Club on a day trip to Weymouth. Photo taken before social distancing.
A club which gives people a chance to learn how to dive is appealing for help to find a new base to house its boats and equipment.
The Maidenhead Eton and Windsor Sub Aqua Club (MEWSAC) has used a part of Windsor Great Park for more than two decades but has been forced to find somewhere else to store its goods.
It has been asked to vacate the site because it is being redeveloped – but the club fears it may have to cease if a suitable home for its boats cannot be found beyond March, when its lease in the Great Park runs out.
MEWSAC secretary Catherine Whitehouse said an ideal location for the 30-year-old club would be somewhere suitable to tow boats in and out; be secure, and have areas of hardstanding. Water and electricity would be useful, and the club insists it is willing to pay a fee.
A base within the Maidenhead area would be preferred, with members visiting from as far east as Wraysbury and west of Reading.
Catherine said that members would only be using the base once or twice a month, adding that the group is ‘tidy and quiet’.
MEWSAC has two club boats and a container for club equipment, and is grateful for Windsor Great Park for ‘giving us a home for a very long time’.
“The boats are there [at the Great Park] and there is a temporary fence up and diggers,” Catherine said.
“We just need somewhere to put them. We would like to pay; if it had water and electricity it would be a bonus because it would make it easier to work on the boats.
“It has got to be secure but it does not need to be its own compound, it can be within a large space.”
She added: “Trying to find a space has been really tricky.
“If we can’t find somewhere to put our boats we will have to sell them, and then we can’t do as much activity as a club.
“And chances are we will struggle to stay as a club; that would be terribly sad.”
MEWSAC also gives its members chance to go on trips to coastlines across the country, swimming with seals and visiting Second World War wrecks deep underneath the water.
Catherine says that diving has been severely impacted by COVID-19, which has pressed pause on a number of the club’s training and plans.
She says the club gives people who are passionate about diving the chance to enjoy it, adding the activity is ‘shrinking’ as people lead busier lives.
“It gives you real freedom and real ability. There is a very core centre within this club that still want to go diving,” Catherine said.
Anyone wishing to help the club find a home for its boats can email email@example.com
Windsor Great Park has not yet responded to a request for comment.
A new Christmas light trail will open up at Windsor Great Park in November run by the same events company behind Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.