Missing diver believed to be doctor

Dr Judy Beard, second left.
Dr Judy Beard, second left.

A diver who is missing off the coast of Eastbourne is believed to be a local doctor.

The missing 52-year-old has been named locally as Judy Beard, a consultant in haematology at the DGH and its sister site in Hastings.

She went missing on Tuesday afternoon after diving with friends six miles off the coast – leading to a frantic eight hour search involving lifeboats, the coastguard helicopter and passing fishing boats.

That search though was called off on Tuesday night and the diver registered as an official missing person. Investigations into her disappearance began this morning.

Dr Beard, who lives in Hooe near Battle, is chairman of the Hastings Sub Aqua club and an experienced diver. She is also a trustee with St Leonards based charity St Michael’s Hospice.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said, “This is an absolute tragedy. After over eight hours at sea conducting a thorough co-ordinated search of the area with nothing found and with failing light, the search was called off at 9.15pm.”

She is pictured above with colleagues and fundraisers.