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lifesavers and dignitaries from around the country gathered to see Avalon Surf Life Saving Club, NSW take out the prestigious DHL Club of the Year, as a group they strive for excellence through leadership by example.

Matthew Slattery from North Avoca SLSC was also among the night’s winners, being awarded the DHL Lifesaver of the Year. Recently Matthew has gained his Gold and Silver Medallions (Aquatic Rescue, Beach Management, Advanced Emergency Care) as well as his Rescue Water Craft certificate.

Other noteworthy awards included the DHL Volunteer of the Year that was presented to Sandy Clarke from Mullaloo SLSC in WA. Sandy was presented this for her dedication to her club over her 20-year career within the movement. Her passion for surf boat rowing is shared with the youth of her club, where she has engaged and retained younger members to compete and improve their skills through awards

Surf Life Saving Australia was proud to present seven Meritorious Awards including three with Bronze Insert for outstanding deeds of bravery performed during lifesaving operations, awarded to Tathra SLSC, Point Leo SLSC and James Cervi.

Five life memberships were also awarded on the night for dedication to the movement to John Restuccia, Maroubra SLSC, Lyn Barratt, Devonport SLSC, Heather Thompson, Grange SLSC, Marcia Fife, Broadbeach SLSC and Daniel Hoyland OAM, Coolangatta SLSC.

The quality of all award recipients on the night is testament to the organisation.

List of Awards and recipients from the night:

DHL Lifesaver of the Year Matthew Slattery, North Avoca SLSC, NSW
Matthew has over 20 years of surf lifesaving experience at North Avoca SLSC. More recently Matthew has gained his Gold and Silver Medallions (Aquatic Rescue, Beach Management, Advanced Emergency Care) as well as his Rescue Water Craft certificate. Matthew’s current role within the club as President has seen the club membership grow their skillset. He has been the Central Coast Duty Officer for two years and attended SLSA’s Masterclass program. Matthew’s can-do attitude encourages others around him immensely, and he is an excellent mentor, happy to share his knowledge and skills with others.

DHL Volunteer of the Year Sandy Clarke, Mullaloo SLSC, WA
Sandy has been involved in almost every aspect of surf lifesaving this season. Throughout her 20-year career within the movement, her natural ability to lead and her enthusiasm has allowed her to become a natural ambassador, continuing to inspire others. Sandy’s skills in communication has improved both the club and culture and she has been involved in the development and testing of the Australian Surf Rowers League app. Her passion for surf boat rowing is shared with the youth of her club, where she has engaged and retained younger members to compete and improve their skills through awards. Sandy is a true asset and inspiration to her club, connecting Mullaloo SLSLC to the public.

DHL Club of the Year Avalon SLSC, NSW
Central to Avalon SLSC club ethos is their policy of ‘One Club’. As a group they strive for excellence through leadership by example. The club adopted a strategic plan in 2017 which provided a detailed set of goals, strategies and performance indicators that set an ambitious set of targets across nine strategic priorities, from lifesaving, club development and sustainability, through to Nippers, and surf sports. Avalon SLSC prides itself on being rescue ready with a large member base also on the emergency call-out team. The opening of a new clubhouse has engaged the local community with such events as Christmas Carols at the Beach and the Lion Island Swim. Avalon SLSC is a pillar of the local community.

DHL Lifeguard of the Year James Turnham, NSW
Education has been a vital aspect of James’ role with the Australian Lifeguard Service. Over the past season he has delivered presentations to over 4,000 school students as well as leading pilot Surf Rescue Certificate programs to year 11 and 12 students. James has been a first responder to numerous incidents as well as being a media spokesperson for some very high-profile incidents. James has shown courage, strong leadership and compassion in some very challenging situations. James also coordinated the Department of Primary Industries Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program in Port Macquarie and provided UAV surveillance for the NSW State Championships.

Youth Surf Livesaver of the Year Nicholas Canales, Penguin SLSC, TAS
Nicholas has stepped up over the past season as Lifesaving Manager at Penguin SLSC, taking on the position as Patrol Captain for two separate patrols to keep patrols running at the club. His skills are further utilised on the club management team as the IRB and Equipment Coordinator. Nicholas has led teams in various surf lifesaving capacities as a trainer, development camp leader, and chief instructor. Nicholas is keen to share his knowledge and passion for surf lifesaving through training and service. Nicholas exhibits a selfless attitude and proactive nature to ensure the best possible outcomes for his club and state..

Surf Sports Coach of the Year Jenny Plint, Sorrento SLSC, WA
Jenny continues to shine as Sprint Coach and has enjoyed an outstanding season on the sand. Her athletes took out numerous gold medals at Aussies, with one sprinter breaking a record held since 1953. Jenny’s squad of Sorrento athletes have grown to one of the largest in WA, all competing to a very high level. Jenny is happy to share her vast knowledge with other clubs and uses her expertise to mentor other coaches and age managers. Jenny’s contribution to sand sports in WA is strengthened by her participation at national forums and coaching events

Surf Sports Youth Athlete of the Year Jemma Smith, Umina SLSC, NSW
Jemma has had a busy year in competition, at state, national and international level.  She was selected in the Australian Lifesaving Team who were victorious at the International Surf Rescue Challenge in New Zealand and Sanyo Bussan Cup in Japan. Jemma has been twice named SLSA’s Youth Athlete of the Year, and was the recipient of the Central Coast Young Athlete and Sport NSW’s Young Athlete of the Year. Jemma’s Aussies medal count has been consistently high taking home two gold, multiple silver and bronze, and being named the Female Competitor of the Aussie Championships in 2018

Surf Sports Athlete of the Year Kendrick Louis, Manly LSC, NSW
Kendrick made history this season for Manly LSC winning gold in the Open Ironman and ski relay at the 2018 Aussies. Kendrick has been selected for the Australian Surf Lifesaving Team, competing in New Zealand at the Surf Rescue Challenge. Kendrick’s results span across Taplin, surf race, board race and ironman achieving podium results at both state and national level. Kendrick has been noted as not only a fantastic competitor but a strong club leader and mentor, often making himself available to masters and nipper competitors.

Trainer of the Year Kimberley Gee, Venus Bay SLSC, VIC
Kimberly has overseen over 220 awards for Venus Bay SLSC during the past season, a record for the club with member engagement and retention at an all-time high, due to the new awards now offered. Kimberly accumulated 220 volunteer training hours dedicated to face-to-face training and education. Kimberly also supports Life Saving Victoria in their training and assessing conferences, taking on the role of Regional Training and Assessing Officer. Kimberly is in her 11th season as Chief Training Instructor at Venus Bay SLSC and is now also Director of Education

Assessor of the Year Michael Martin AM, Anglesea SLSC, VIC
Mike has held the head assessor’s role at Anglesea SLSC for many years. During that time, he has been active in assessments in the South Barwon district and across Victoria. Mike has been instrumental in strengthening junior progression within assessing, mentoring the younger members and creating pathways to support their surf lifesaving development. Mike has been involved in Bronze, First Aid and IRB assessments throughout the season. He continues to be actively engaged in state assessment programs and this year completed his Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Community Education Program of the Year Canberra/Broulee Nippers, Broulee Surfers SLSC, NSW
Broulee Surfers SLSC recognised the need to educate and provide a service for the nation’s largest inland city. The club aimed to provide junior surf lifesaving activities accessible to Canberra residents. The club set about training and educating both Nippers and their parents in water skills and age manager skills. The program took place at the Canberra Olympic pool, where there is also a large sand area perfect for sprints and beach flags. Families would then travel to Broulee beach every third or fourth weekend for activities on the beach, and pool rescue events were also organised at the Canberra Olympic pool to challenge the older 7 to 13-year-old age group. The club regularly seeks feedback from the age managers to ensure continuous improvement. The program opened the joy of surf lifesaving to a large inland community.

Innovation of the Year ‘Honouring our First Female Lifesavers’ event, Terrigal SLSC, NSW
In 2017, Terrigal SLSC undertook the task of recognising the female surf lifesavers who patrolled the Central Coast beaches during World War 2. Between 1942 and 1945, seventy-two of the seventy-six male members in the club were enlisted in the armed forces. Despite the fact that SLSA policy did not recognise female surf lifesavers, a group of trained women took it upon themselves to patrol the beaches, ensuring no lives were lost during this period. These women never received their Bronze Medallion qualification. The First Female Lifesavers event sought to honour and acknowledge these women, some now in their 90’s, by awarding them or their families with Bronze Medallions. The event allowed the club to springboard into the ‘Inheritors Program’ for youth retention and engagement.

List of Meritorious Awards:

Individual Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert James Cervi, Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD

Group Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert Tarthra SLSC

Group Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert Point Leo SLSC

Group Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert Broulee Surfers, Moruya & Batemans Bay SLSC

Group Certificate of Merit Sunshine Beach SLSC & Wave Runner 19

Group Certificate of Merit Point Lookout SLSC

Group Certificate of Merit Whale Beach SLSC

List of new Life Members:

Lyn Barratt, Devonport SLSC, TAS

Heather Thompson, Grange SLSC, SA

Marcia Fife, Broadbeach SLSC, QLD

John Restuccia, Maroubra SLSC, NSW

Daniel Hoyland OAM, Coolangatta SLSC, QL

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