A SCUBA diver from Wirral celebrated his 90th birthday with a 90ft dive off the Cyprus coast.

Ray Woolley, a great-grandfather-of-six, originally from Port Sunlight but now living in Agios Tychonas close to Limassol, used the dive to explore the famous wreck of the Zenobia at the bottom of Larnaca Bay.

The underwater expedition to the site of the Swedish built ferry, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1980 with £200 million of cargo aboard, was arranged by Ray's regular dive partner Dave Turner, who is a diving officer for the British Sub-Aqua Club.

Ray served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, began diving six decades ago around the time when BSAC, the national governing body for UK diving was formed. It is marking its diamond jubilee this year.

During his career as a radio engineer Ray was posted to Cyprus many times.

It was during one of his spells working on the island that he became an enthusiastic member of BSAC 107S, Western Sovereign Base Areas, at RAF Akrotiri.

Eventually retiring to Cyprus in 1999, he resumed his association with the club.

Recalling his 90@90 dive, Ray said: "After all these years of diving I just thought I'd take the opportunity to do something underwater to celebrate getting to the age of 90.

"Going down to 90 feet was a better option than doing 90 metres which is much deeper.

"It was a great experience but I have to say everyone from the club who with me seemed more excited about it than I was.

"It was a nice thing for the club to arrange for me to do it and I’m very grateful to Dave and everyone else involved.

"I'm very lucky that I’m still able to dive at the age of 90."

Mary Tetley, chief executive of BSAC, passed on her congratulations to Ray.

She said: "Ray is a credit to BSAC and it is so fitting that he has completed his 90th birthday dive in our diamond jubilee year.

"Ray and his contemporaries 60 years ago really did act as leisure diving pioneers and turn it into the sport which so many of us know and love.

"Ray is an inspiration and his remarkable diving career will surely inspire a new generation of scuba divers."

Dave Turner said: "Photographs were taken of Ray and the other members in the one remaining lifeboat and standing beside the top propeller at 30.5 meters.

"That's a little over the required 27.42 meters or 90 feet but still well within his capabilities.

"The first time Ray dived the Zenobia was within a year of it sinking when he found the ship and its cargo of lorries and goods to be in good condition.

"Thirty-three years on the Zenobia is still there, and the lorries and remaining cargo have deteriorated quite badly, but the same cannot be said about Ray.

"I've been with the club for seven years and have known Ray all that time. We dive together about three or four times a year.

"The dive down to the Zenobia went really well and everyone enjoyed it.

"Ray is really fit and it’s always a pleasure to dive with him. He's now been doing it for so long you could say he was one of the UK’s pioneer recreational divers."

Ray's professional career took him to Dubai in 1983 and he became one of the founder members of the BSAC Branch No. 1388, becoming the club’s first diving officer.

He stopped logging dives when he reached 1,000. Over the years he has dived off Australia, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Arabian Gulf.

Ray left Dubai in 1999 to retire to Cyprus where he resumed his membership of BSAC 107S, as an active club member and diver.

His next club dive will be to Zevgari Reef in Cyprus where he plans to show the ‘younger’ members his renowned sponge diving skills.