ONE diving club is taking action to help people with disabilities get involved — changing a local man's life after he "hit rock bottom".

Five years ago Paul Wilkinson was injured in an accident which left him with with limited lower body movement, needing to use a walking stick.

Mr Wilkinson, 49, from Daisy Hill, said: "I suffered an injury that stopped me from being a lorry driver. I was stuck in the house all the time,.

"You hit rock bottom when you are seeing the same four walls all the time."

Struggling with his mental health, Mr Wilkinson wanted to try something new to regain his independence. He began attending sessions at Westhoughton Sub Aqua Club, where he soon found a home.

The club at Westhoughton has specially trained diving instructors to aid people with disabilities or different needs and prioritises sending as many volunteers on courses to ensure anyone who wants to dive, can join in. Mr Wilkinson said: "My son was 16 at the time and wanted to try scuba diving and I thought I would give it a go.

Ronnie Lucas, Westhoughton's lead diving officer, has been leading efforts to get all of his instructors trained to aid people with disabilities.

He said: "It started with a conversation with a guy in a pub. He ran a charity working with people with post-traumatic stress disorder and he asked if I could take them on some dives.

"The opportunity then came up to go on a Dive For All course so I could teach people with disabilities. We started looking for funding to get all the instructors on this course and managed to get a grant from Bolton Council to get them on the same level as me."

Mr Wilkinson says the opportunity to dive has been invaluable for him. He said:"I'm still learning what I can do, but the instructors are there and are more than willing to help."

"My tinnitus goes away when I scuba dive because you have to concentrate on what you're doing.

"Because I have seen a benefit for myself, I feel that I should be share my story to help other people."

The club is only going from strength to strength, with six instructors who have passed the course and six more in training.