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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 12:49 GMT
Tributes after diver quarry death
Paula Blakemore
Paula Blakemore was 'dedicated to mastering technical diving'
Tributes have been paid to an experienced woman diver whose body was recovered from a disused Gwynedd quarry early on Thursday.

Paula Blakemore, who was 43 and from Congleton in Cheshire, failed to surface at Dorothea Quarry on Sunday.

The mother-of-three, a diving instructor, got into difficulties underwater while with a companion.

A colleague described Mrs Blakemore as an "inspiring and dedicated instructor in and out of the water".

Jeff Kemp, from New Frontier Diving, said the instructor had "developed a passion for teaching in addition to furthering her own interest in deep wreck diving."

Mr Kemp said he had first met Mrs Blakemore whom he called "a natural diving instructor" two years ago when she asked for training.

Diving buddy

He said: "From the moment I met Paula, her enthusiasm for diving wore me out.

"Paula was dedicated to mastering technical diving from the start."

Mr Kemp said when she had completed her "rebreather course," she would dive every weekend of the year.

"In fact, I don't think she had a single weekend off from diving in all that time," he added.

Mr Kemp, who said he was "very sad at losing her as a good friend and diving buddy," said Mrs Blakemore had worked as an instructor in Mallorca and had taught many divers.

Search at the quarry
Police divers carried out a number of searches at Dorothea Quarry

North Wales Police confirmed the diver's body was recovered at 0100 GMT on Thursday, ending the five-day search.

A spokeswoman said: "Shortly before 1am this morning the joint underwater search team recovered the body of a women from the Dorothea Quarry in the Nantlle Valley."

Since 1994, 21 other people have died at the quarry, which is up to 300ft (91m) deep in places.

A 45-year-old man who was with Mrs Blakemore when she got into difficulties and became entangled in ropes had tried to free her until he was forced to swim to the surface, North Wales Police confirmed.

He was taken to a decompression unit on the Wirral, where he was treated for shock and the bends and later discharged.




SEE ALSO
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22 Mar 04 |  North West Wales

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