Shoalstone Pool, Brixham
This is Shoalstone swimming pool in Brixham, a tidal outdoor swimming pool located not far from Berry Head. I believe that prior to my accident the swimming pool was partially emptied of water out of the holiday season and then filled during the holidays. When I dived into the pool it contained around 3 1/2 feet of fairly murky water.
It was Sunday, May 18, 1986 at approximately 5:30 PM-6 PM while walking my two dogs Sam and Skye I bumped into some friends, Keith, Jon and Lee, all fishermen like myself. I had been to Berry Head for a few hours and have enjoyed one of the first warm days of spring. The route home took us past Shoalstone swimming pool which was completely accessible to the general public. We went down to the side of the pool and one of us, not sure if it was Jon Keith or myself suggested that we go for a dip since it was relatively warm. Jon went in before me and as he was coming back to the side of the pool I dived over his head. I hit my head on the bottom of the pool which I think stuned me for a few seconds. I found myself face down in the water, arms in front of me, completely paralysed not being able to move a muscle, apart from my head. I don't suppose it was much more than a minute, but in that very short time I accepted my fate. It seems quite surreal now, but I knew I was going to die, it may sound weird, but I was totally at ease, I remember saying to myself, "okay Penn, you're going to die now, prepare yourself" Well, I'll have to wait a little bit longer to find out if there is anything on the other side. I think going through this experience is why I am not afraid of dying now. Lucky for me, my friends got me out in time and ironically there were two qualified lifesavers walking past at the time that did a fantastic job in reviving me. Thank you, you know who you are if you read this.