The Fish Award has been made annually since 2012 in memory of the late Mike Jeanmaire or ‘Fish’ who served as CDG Chairman for 30 years. It is awarded to those who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the CDG rather than to cave diving in general. It is determined by the previous recipients, so it is a true recognition by your peers.
The winner this year has made a significant contribution to the production of the Newsletter. When we considered moving to digital-only Newsletter last year, there was considerable pushback from the wider caving community who hold the publication held in high esteem. It has been published regularly since 1964 in its current format and next year marks its 60th anniversary. Today, I am delighted that we are able to recognise one of the previous editors.
He started as Editor in July 1988 and his last editorial in 1991 he gave his two objectives as:
- to produce regular editions and,
- to publish everything submitted.
These objectives might sound fairly straightforward, but to be part of a chain of Newsletters spanning nearly 60 years is no small achievement. His second objective of publishing everything goes to the core of what the Newsletter is – a complete record of all activity. The quality of the Newsletter is not driven by the thickness of the paper or glossiness of the photos, but by the meticulous record of all UK cave diving activity that forms a foundation for future research and exploration. In both of these objectives, he excelled.
Before taking up as Editor he did a lot of cave diving. I believe he studied at Bath University and did a lot of stuff on Mendip including: Mangle Hole and the discovery of the 2W’s series in Wookey, after which it is named.
Amongst his many cave diving achievements was the dive from Ogof Llyn Ddu to discover Ogof Llyn Parc. This 260m long sump at a depth of 26m, is complex, has foul visibility, and yet, he still explored a km or so of new passage. This was a very serious undertaking for the 1980s. He was also involved in passing sumps in Ogof Hesp Alyn, another diver-hostile system and he remains a current member of the Welsh Section.
Celebrating the work of this former Editor gives us a chance to recognise how the quiet yet diligent work of past members created the stable foundations that the modern CDG is built upon. Unfortunately, he cannot be with us here tonight to accept this award in person, but it gives me great pleasure to announce that this year’s winner of the Fish Award is Paul Whybro.