OAM recipients Daryl Hocking and Sue Lewis dive into volunteer life in Cambodia

After two lifetimes' service to diving, Daryl Hocking and Suzanne Lewis-Hocking have shifted their focus to Cambodia. Photo: Daryl Hocking/LinkedIn.

After two lifetimes' service to diving, Daryl Hocking and Suzanne Lewis-Hocking have shifted their focus to Cambodia. Photo: Daryl Hocking/LinkedIn.

Mannum couple Daryl Hocking and Sue Lewis have been awarded Order of Australia Medals in the Queen's Birthday honours list for services to the sport of diving.

But pair have more recently dived into another passion: the welfare of widows and their families on Koh Rumdual in Cambodia.

Calling the island's history "confronting" would be an understatement.

The island - also known as Koh Kor - was the site of a prison, torture and execution centre under dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime, which controlled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

Thousands of men deemed to be "traitors" were taken away and executed by soldiers of the regime during that period; the remains of many lie in mass graves on the island.

A detention centre continued to operate there until 2008, when it was shut down by the United Nations.

It has since been reclaimed by an autonomous group of women, many of whom have escaped abusive marriages, been deserted by their husbands or kicked out of brothels after becoming pregnant.

The island community is supported by a number of foreign charities and volunteers.

Enter Mr Hocking and Mrs Lewis, a pair better known in Australia for their life-long contributions to diving.

Each is a former manager of the Australian national team, Sydney Olympic Games official and life member of Diving Australia and Diving SA.

Mr Hocking also served as the sport's national development officer and head referee, and the competition manager at three World Swimming Championships and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Mrs Lewis, meanwhile, wrote a competition management manual used at state, national and international championships around the world.

They have lived at Mannum since 2002, but since their retirement six years ago have spent six months each year in southeast Asia.

They first visited Koh Rumdual in April 2013 to run a holiday program for the 60 children at the school there, but were moved to continue offering as much help as they could.

"We don't have a lot, but we have a lot more than them," Mrs Lewis said.

"(They are) so poor, yet so happy, with no power, no running water, an impoverished existence, just because they happened to be born there."

Their donations have gone towards school books and uniforms, clothes, toilets, renovations and medical services; and they have personally helped build toilet blocks, lean-tos, guttering and other building upgrades.

They have just returned to Cambodia for their next 30-day stint after volunteering at a diving event in Singapore, though Mrs Lewis will be hampered by a broken shoulder sustained building a chicken coop a month ago.

She said she and Mr Hocking both felt humbled, honourd and grateful for the accolades they had received, "something we would never have imagined for ordinary folk like us".

"We both thoroughly enjoyed our lifetime involvement (with) the fabulous sport of diving, both in Australia and Singapore," she said.

"We're very proud of all we were able to contribute."