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Tributes paid to Vikki Shelley of Sheerness who died after scuba dive at Holborough Lakes in Snodland

By Lewis Dyson

Tributes have been paid to a woman who died in hospital after suffering medical problems while learning to scuba dive.

Vikki Shelley was at Holborough Lakes in Snodland when tragedy struck on Saturday, July 12.

It is understood she became ill while on her third dive of the session, with only one left to complete, and was taken straight to the bank.

Vikki Shelley, who died after diving at a lake in Snodland

The 33-year-old had been on a private scuba diving course, supervised by an instructor, a dive master, and a rescue diver, which she would have taken after completing initial training in a swimming pool.

The published author, of Queensway in Sheerness, was taken to Maidstone Hospital by ambulance, and later transferred to the James Pagett University Hospital in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

A former pupil of Minster College in Sheppey, she had worked as a television extra and as a writer, using the name Victoria Ley under which she wrote The Darkseed Series.

Lea Schizas, from Canada-based Muse It which published her work, said: “Although I never met her face-to-face, the interactions online, the laughter and good nature that came across her posts spoke volumes of the type of person she was.

“It was truly devastating to hear of her passing, and still trying to absorb it.

“Such a fun and spirited young lady.”

Author Helena Fairfax, of West Yorkshire, who interviewed Miss Shelley for her website, said: “I’m tremendously shocked and sad to hear that Tori has died. I knew her as a witty, engaging writer, full of ideas for her next book. I’m terribly saddened that her ideas won’t be realised.”

Paula Foreman will swim 102 laps around Holborough Lakes to raise money for Breast Cancer Now

A diving expert from PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) in Kent, said: “We don’t know for sure what happened.

“We are shocked. When something like this happens a ripple goes through the industry.

“It is a very popular sport and is very safe.

“PADI trains hundreds of thousands of divers worldwide a year. The number of diving incidents in proportion is very small.”

The exact cause of Miss Shelley’s death has not been confirmed and an inquest into her death is due to open this week.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is investigating the incident but declined to comment further.

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