Our PADI Instructor’s Creed.
As a scuba instructor I have the opportunity to see: Fear changed to courage, Faintheartedness converted into accomplishment, Timidity transformed into confidence, Anticipation turned into passion. As a scuba instructor I can: Open hearts and minds to the hidden beauty of nature’s creation and our obligation to protect it, Foster self-esteem in another person, Teach the value of character and integrity, Transform another human being and change a life for the better and forever. “From what we get we make a living. From what we give we make a life”. Winston Churchill
Simon Hotchkin – Director, PADI Course Director, PADI Re Breather Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor Trainer
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with the water. I was 4 years old. My parents had taken myself and my brother on holiday in Spain & I distinctly remember a seal shaped buoyancy ring in which I was plopped!! That was it!! Water was in my heart, and that’s where it’s stayed ever since. 20 years later, I did a try-dive in Ibiza, which affected me so profoundly I decided to focus my attention on making scuba diving my career. I did my PADI Open Water in the UK at the beautiful Stoney Cove, my Advanced soon after in the Maldives (where I achieved my Shark and Ray distinctive specialty), my Rescue Diver the following year in the Maldives. With the bit firmly between my teeth I climbed the professional PADI ladder to Divemaster in 2007 and became a PADI OWSI & EFR instructor in 2010 followed closely by PADI MSDT then PADI IDC Staff instructor in 2012. I achieved my PADI Closed Circuit Re Breather Instructor in 2014 & can now deliver 20 PADI diver specialities. In 2018 I became an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer, and I am truly proud of having received the prestigious PADI Elite Instructor award for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017. There is so much so much I want to give back to diving, and so much more I want to see. I am in the privileged position of PADI Course Director so I can now focus on developing new instructors & my phenomenal team who will then go on and introduce the next generation of divers to the beautiful under sea world. Every day is one my four year old self would have been very happy about indeed.
Victoria Hotchkin – Director, PADI Master Instructor, PADI Freediver Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
Vic has been diving since 2007 and is a self-confessed warm water diver having completed over 100 dives in the Indian Ocean.
More recently Vic has learnt to embrace the “fun” of UK diving, qualifying in 2012 as an Instructor. Originally a lawyer by profession, Vic runs two companies of her own as well as trying to keep Hotch and the Team in order! “One of the best things ever, is seeing a new student get their first taste of what the underwater world has to offer and consequently I love being involved in the teaching side of things. Since starting Stellar Divers we have had the privilege of meeting so many new people but all with a common interest, diving. I am really excited to see where we can take the business but at all times remaining true to our mantra that “Diving is Fun”.
Siân Jones – PADI IDC Staff Instructor/Emergency First Responder Instructor
I found my love for diving August 2014 when on a holiday in the Caribbean, after the try dive I wanted to take the Open Water so that I could do more dives. Mum and Dad thought I wouldn’t carry on when back in England, but how wrong were they! So from the Caribbean sea to Capernwray I knew that scuba diving was for me and so I joined Stellar Divers. Both Hotch and Vic have taken me through my specialities and rescue course but more recently I was lucky enough to go to the Azores to do my 50th dive with Hotch qualifying me for my MSD two days before my 16th birthday. I became a PADI Divemaster at 18, a PADI Instructor at 19 & I can’t wait to leap at the next challenge!!
Ian Potter – PADI IDC Staff Instructor/Emergency First Responder Instructor
It has always been an ambition of mine to dive, especially with the memories as a child of watching the unconventional but innovative Jacques Cousteau in his TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and the Cousteau Odyssey in 70s and 80s. Not for the want of trying, I managed several times to start my diving career but failed to continue onto qualification. Once in 1986 whilst serving in the Falkland Islands, thankfully in a heated pool and on a number of occasions in Cyprus in 90s. The most recent attempt was in Turkey whilst on holiday in 2013.I thought nothing of learning to dive since then, as work and family life managed to keep me busy. Until my eldest son asked me to arrange a course for him whilst he was home on leave in 2015. So, I thought I’d tag along and try once more. I thankfully managed to book an Open Water course for the both of us with Stellar. After an intense week of confined and open water training with the extremely enthusiastic Vic and Hotch, we successfully gained our Open Water certificate, with dry suit specilisation. From there on my appetite to learn has spiralled and I’ve accomplished many PADI specialities. I’m currently working towards becoming a PADI MSDT Instructor with an absolutely excellent team and enjoying every minute of it! My underwater explorations since becoming qualified include diving Rhodes and a Red Sea liveaboard. Where I’ve explored some impressive historical wrecks. But unforgettably, diving with dolphins, thresher and grey reef sharks has to top everything. Looking forward to future trips and experiences with Stellar and crew, old and new.
Chris Brightman, PADI Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
Chris (Major) took up scuba diving over ten years ago at the tender age of 60. After a career of 32 years in the Army and 5 years working for The Prince’s Trust, he felt that he needed something exciting to do in retirement. Since qualifying as an Open Water diver with Sceptre Scuba and progressing through the PADI system with them under the expert tutelage of Richard Alfrey, he has managed to get well over 500 logged dives under his weight belt. He has dived abroad in the Maldives, the Red Sea, Kenya, the Caribbean, Malta, Spain and the Canary Islands. UK diving has taken him to the Farne Islands, St Abbs, Mull, the Channel Islands, Plymouth, Cornwall, Swanage, Bridlington and of course good old Stoney Cove assisting Sceptre Scuba with their courses as rescue diver and divemaster. As for the future, he wants to carry on diving as long as possible and help Stellar Divers expand their vision. What is so brilliant is the Chris became a PADI Assistant Instructor on his 71st Birthday, proving that age is certainly no barrier when it comes to scuba diving.
Chris Houghton, PADI Instructor/ Emergency First Responder Instructor
Chris also Known as “Seasick” for reasons best left unexplained, has been diving since 2005 and has over 500 dives logged. Chris especially loves shipwrecks of any size and condition, having dived on some of the world’s top wrecks as well as great sites in UK waters. Chris qualified as a PADI Divemaster in 2012, as a PADI Assistant Instructor in 2014, and (about time too) a PADI OWSI in 2018. Chris is also a PADI Advanced Re Breather diver & is a certified Re Breather assistant. He really enjoys helping students develop their skills and achieve their goals.
Chris Wright – PADI Instructor/Emergency First Responder Instructor
Diving should always come back to one feeling – enjoyment! Enjoyment from the first experience of being able to breath underwater to helping people become competent qualified divers. In addition, being a diver develops knowledge of physiology and physics, challenges for all, and opportunities to experience natural and human underwater marvels. I started diving with the British Sub-Aqua Club in 1996 followed by a long hiatus focused on family and career (with a small quantity of ‘take the opportunity’ dives). In 2016, I reminded myself that I enjoyed diving and gained PADI qualifications with Stellar Divers. I look forward to diving with you.
Petra Pollux – PADI Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
Hello fellow water lovers. My name is petra Pollux, and I am from Holland (although I have been in the UK for a long time). I have always been drawn to water, from playing in waves and rock pools as a child, to becoming a competitive sailor as a teenager, then later becoming a sailing instructor. But nothing has ever resonated with me as much as the first time I tried scuba diving.Suddenly I was immersed in a whole new world, filled with weird and wonderful creatures who were as curious about me as I about them, and from that moment I was hooked. I completed my open water in 2004 in Egypt, followed by my advanced a year later at the same school, then I enjoyed recreational diving until I stumbled across stellar divers and decided to continue improving my skills. I have dived all over the world, a highlight being diving with rays in the Maldives, but I find teaching equally rewarding. It is a privilege to introduce people to a world I love, and I look forward to shepherding you on your scuba diving journey.
Karl Potter (AKA John Wick) – PADI Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
I started diving after receiving a Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) as a Christmas present in 2015 with Stellar Divers. I’ve progressed since then to qualify as an open water, advanced open water and onto Rescue Diver. As well as these core diver qualifications, I’ve also successfully completed 5 PADI specialties. As a consequence of all this training and managing to clock over 60 divers I have been awarded the certification of Master Scuba Diver. I now look forward to March 2019 when I can start my Divemaster course with Stellar. My underwater history includes diving in many of the UK’s inland dive sites, but the best has to be diving off the coasts of Turkey, Rhodes and recently around the Farne Islands with grey seals. In the future I wish to travel further and deeper to see more marine life and wrecks. Many Thanks to Vic & Hotch at Stellar Divers.
Margaret Morris, PADI Instructor, EFR Emergency First Responder Instructor
I learned to swim at the age of five in the coldest pool in Britain – The Step Rock Pool in St Andrews washed twice a day by the lovely Scottish tide. I emerged blue and in love with the sea and that has never left me. When I eventually had the opportunity to do a discover scuba dive I was hooked. I went on to do my open water and continued my PADI education up to instructor level. Since then I have dived all over the world and done almost 1200 dives. Three years ago I did a short Marine Biology course at Newcastle University which was amazing but sadly did highlight the stress we are putting our oceans under. My great passion now is underwater photography Woo hoo never happier than when I am underwater with my camera and teaching others what they need to know to love our seas.
Karl Durham, PADI Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
Karl (Mr D) first learnt to dive some 20 years ago when he qualified with the British Sub Aqua Association as an Open Water Diver/Club Diver. (You should have seen the kit then! ABLJ’s (Horseshoe collar)). He had a break from diving for a few years and then re-qualified in December 2008 in the cold waters of the UK, having undertaken the PADI Open Water Diver Course. The “Diving Bug” was back again. He continued his training, completing the PADI Advanced Open Water in March 2009 in the warmer waters of Tenerife and later qualified as a PADI Rescue Diver in March 2010. He has a number of specialities under his belt, Wreck Diver, Deep Diver, Dry Suit and Enriched Air (Nitrox ). He has extensive experience of diving in the UK, (Inland and Sea), Tenerife, Bali and the Greek Island of Zakinthos (where they filmed part of the musical “Mama Mia”, but that does not make him a bad person?). He qualified as a Divemaster with Stellar Scuba in November 2011 and made the great leap to the ranks of PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in October 2013. Karl says “I look to develop my diving experience “onwards and downwards” with Stellar Divers the world is your oyster (Lobster) !!!”
Chrissy Howell – PADI Assistant Instructor, Emergency First Responder Instructor
After a bad tourist experience of diving in my teenage years, I vowed never to dive again. However, I was convinced to give it another try, and after a successful DSD session with Stellar Divers I was hooked. 3 years later, with a lot of support and encouragement from Vic and Hotch, I’ve progressed to PADI Divemaster. Now what comes next 🙂 I’m a big fan of warm water diving – which fits in well with my love for travel and adventure!! Cooler UK Waters though are very interesting! I especially enjoy looking out for the aquatic critters too.
Alice Ackroyd – PADI Divemaster
I started diving in 2012 after my partner bought me, as a surprise, a bcd and a wetsuit for Christmas, I got the message! I was taught by Russ Antoniades a Stellar instructor, but in Grimsby and qualified in 2012. Prior to that I was known as Alice Ackroyd – Snorkeler when I joined Russ and Helen on their diving holidays! I’ve been very lucky to dive with Helen Taylor as my buddy, a far more experienced diver. We when we went to Thailand in 2014 when I got my Advanced Open Water. I’ve also dived in Gozo, Menorca, Fuerteventura and Capernwray! I started out as quite a nervous diver but diving with Stellar and being supported by Hotch and Vic has helped me become far more confident and I qualified as a Rescue Diver in 2016! I never thought I’d say I enjoyed diving so much and helping at the club is one of my weekend highlights, well that and playing hockey!
Helen Taylor – PADI Divemaster/DSD Leader
I started diving 11 years ago in Egypt where I did my open water and advanced in 2 weeks. Since then I have dived all over the UK, Croatia, fuerteventura, Malta and gozo, Cuba, and Thailand. I am happier under the water than above though so am just as happy in a swimming pool! Just over a year ago I decided I wanted to a bit more training so I did my rescue course and now I am looking forward to spending more time in the water and helping other people discover how damn nice diving is in my role as divemaster with stellar divers.
Dan Hughes – PADI Divemaster/DSD Leader
My scuba journey began like most good plans / ideas, over a few sociable beers late one night in a drinking hole I used to frequent. Upon where a slightly enlightened serious of late night conversations lead to me being talked into attending a try dive on an un earthly hour on a Sunday morning. The rest is history. I have always since a small child had a fascination of the underwater world and all its weird and wonderful creatures and breath-taking views and have always wanted to explore this exciting world. After my first try dive with Stellar I was hooked. I decided to complete my open water certificate and the ball rolled or should I say floated very quickly from there to me becoming a PADI Divemaster and DSD Leader which is one of the most proudest moments of my diving career so far. One of the best/ most rewarding things for me being a divemaster is that I get the opportunity to be able to mentor and assist up and coming divers who are just starting out on their journey as well as work with a great team of people oh and most importantly have fun whilst doing this. I have had the opportunity to dive in many places around the world such as: Egypt, California, Florida, Malta (gozo), Lanzarote, Mallorca as well as some of the impressive sites around the UK. I also have the privilege to be part of an aquarium dive team in which I get to regularly hand feed sharks and rays and guide people on shark encounter experiences.
Sam Hanby, PADI Divemaster
I started diving back in 2009 at the age of 12. I started with a club in Nottingham and gradually worked my way up to rescue diver by the age of 15. All of my diving was UK based up until 2014 when I got my first taste of warm water diving in Indonesia. Whilst in Indonesia I worked on a conservation project with Operation Wallacea surveying sections of reef and trying to replenish areas of dead reef with corals grown in a lab on bathroom tiles.
I took a break from diving in 2015 until 2017 (I have no idea why and it was a very silly decision!!!) This is when Stellar came to the rescue and rekindled my love for all things aquatic. Since I have been diving with Stellar they have taken my diving to a whole new level and I have since qualified as a Divemaster. I have shared quite a few adventures with stellar and hopefully there are many more to come!!!
Martin Ball, PADI Divemaster
After a few years of doing holiday try dives I decided to look into a PADI open water course. In 2016 I contacted Stellar Divers and started my journey. Once I’d completed all the confined water skills I then went onto complete my open water and Dry suit course at Capernwray. From then I realised how much I enjoyed being in the water so knew I had to continue my training which I have now done all the way up to Rescue diver, Master Scuba diver and now qualified as a Divemaster. I enjoy helping new dive student in the water and in the Classroom. The speciality dive courses are great and my favourites were the Search & Recovery and DPV (Diver propulsion vehicle). I would recommend Stellar divers to anyone, their tuition is so professional and your always made to feel welcome whether in the water or in the pub on a diving trip. I’ve done lots ok UK diving and I’d say the best being diving with the Seals at the Farne Islands. Looking forward to many more dive trips in future.
Martin Ainsworth, Consultant/PADI Course Director
Martin is one of the most recognised and highly regarded PADI Course Directors in the UK, with his wife Sharon he also runs one of the most successful scuba schools in the UK. Martin lends his huge wealth of experience, maturity and professionalism to Stellar Divers as a consultant to facilitate the highest & broadest level of PADI scuba training and service available in Lincolnshire. Martin has been diving for over 25 years starting in the UK becoming a PADI instructor in 1992. Since then Martin has been actively teaching in the UK and diving around the world in the Maldives, Australia, Bali, Borneo, Egypt, USA, Canada and the Philippines before reaching his goal of Course Director in 2003. Martin has set up dive centres in both the UK and Europe prior to developing and opening an inland dive site, the Blue Lagoon, which enabled him to map his experience in all aspects of diving into Instructor Development Courses. Martin is currently focused on running an active instructor development calendar across his two dive centres in addition to developing his own distinctive specialty courses and teaching instructor courses for other centres in the UK, Malta, Turkey and Cape Verde. Martin has consistently achieved gold status within the Course Director frequent trainer program for the last three years teaching between 50 and 100 instructor courses a year.