Ray Woolley, undisputedly the “world’s oldest diver” will celebrate his 95th birthday next week with a 35m scuba dive to the popular Zenobia wreck off the coast of Larnaca, where he officially set the record on his birthday, August 28, last year.
The WWII veteran, who stars in the documentary ‘Life Begins at 90’, set the Guinness Record and was acknowledged at the end of 2017.
A year earlier, he undertook to complete 39 dives in his 93rd year, dubbed “[email protected]”; but he actually surpassed his own target and completed 51 dives that year.
The Larnaca Tourism Board, that is coordinating the event on Saturday, September 1, said this is part of its own marketing efforts to promote the Zenobia, a popular diving site for locals and overseas visitors, making it a new form of tourism.
The Board said that the Zenobia has been included among the best diving locations in the world and is greatly popular. On August 10, it posted photos of an underwater marriage proposal at the wreck site (see below).
The boat carrying Woolley will leave the Psarolimano fishing shelter on Tasos Mitsopoulos avenue at 9am, arriving above the wreck site at 9.20am. Woolley is expected to complete the dive and surface by 10am, returning to the Psarolimano at 10am, where refreshments and a light breakfast will be offered.
Woolley is a World War II veteran who served in the Royal Navy and ‘SBS Special Force 281’ in the Dodecanese. After the war, he trained as radio engineer and whilst working for the British foreign office was posted to Cyprus in 1964.
He lives in Limassol and dives with the British sub aqua club – BSAC – at RAF Akrotiri and began diving with the Portland and Weymouth British Sub Aqua Club in 1960.
According to the Cyprus Mail, Woolley’s son has also suggested that his father, who swims in his pool four times a day during the warmer months, should try to claim swimming records such as the international short course 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
The Wirral Globe reported that Ray, originally from Port Sunlight, said all of the attention being generated by the film was “rather nice” at his age.
Created by Paphos-based independent production company, In Focus Films, it highlights Ray’s passion for diving and healthy approach to ageing. Director Bejay Browne said she was thrilled with the award.
She added: “Ray is a unique person and it was a joy to make this film.”
Filmed at various locations around Cyprus, including Limassol, Latchi and the Zenobia wreck in Larnaca, Ray is joined by his dive buddies and family members to tell the story of his remarkable life and reminisce about his time in World War 2.
See the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpOSJxdnzhk
Larnaca Tourism Board: https://www.facebook.com/LarnakaTourism/