Diving back in

Diving back in

An adrenaline junkie pensioner is still diving off a high board at the age of 80 – despite suffering a heart attack during a training session.

David Rice underwent emergency surgery to have a pacemaker fitted and spent 10 days in hospital after collapsing at his local pool just a year ago.

But despite doctor’s orders, the veteran was determined not to give up on his beloved hobby.

Diving back in 3

And, after coaxing himself back onto the boards, David is now performing pikes and swan dives.

David said: “I just couldn’t stop – I’ve always been incredibly active and it’s part of my enjoyment of life.

“I am always extra careful that I make clean dives into the water so that the device is not impacted too much.

Loving it

“I’m back on the five-metre board now and loving it.”

David, who served for nine years in the RAF, has always been active and aged 79 regularly swam an impressive nine miles a week at his local leisure centre in Kingswood, Bristol.

He also took part in high diving sessions, which would see him leap off the five metre boards.

During a session on November 10 2012, after performing three dives, he offered to help a woman who had never dived before.

But as the former engineer was climbing the stairs to the top board to dive once more, he began to feel faint.

“Time was getting on and I wanted to dive again so I walked to the bottom of the steps to the high board, but before I started climbing I began feeling dizzy.“I started her off on the one metre spring board and she belly flopped once before doing a good dive,” he said.

“I sat down on a window ledge for a minute and they called a first aider. He called 999 and the air ambulance turned up.

“They checked me over and I felt alright, but as I was walking out of the leisure centre I began feeling funny again.”

David then suffered a heart attack and because the air ambulance was still at the scene, he was taken straight to hospital within minutes.

He spent 10 days in the Bristol Royal Infirmary and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator – a small battery-powered electrical impulse generator – designed to keep his heart going in the event of another attack.

Diving back in 2

David was told by doctors his fitness had helped his survival and was encouraged to keep up his regular swimming.

But he was told it was not advisable to high dive because of the possible impact on the device.

Just six weeks later David was back in the pool, and not long after that he could not resist carefully jumping from the side, and then using the one-metre spring board again.

Within days he was back on the five-metre board.

As a thank you to the air ambulance who saved his life, David decided to forego presents at his recent 80th birthday, and instead asked people to make donations to the Great Western Air Ambulance.

“If it wasn’t for the air ambulance I’m not sure I’d be here today,” he added.