MERMAID Beach has been crowned Queensland’s 2013/2014 Surf Life Saving Club of the Year.
The announcement was made at Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) annual Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner in Brisbane over the weekend. SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan congratulated Mermaid Beach on its win, saying it was a well-deserved effort after a strong summer season.
“This award is one of the top honours for the lifesaving movement in Queensland and, on behalf of SLSQ, I extend my congratulations to Mermaid Beach and their dedicated volunteer members for being recognised with such a prestigious accolade,” Mr Brennan said. “While all surf life saving clubs across Queensland do a fantastic job, both on the beach and out in the community, it’s important that we recognise and pay tribute to those particular clubs which go well above and beyond the call of duty.
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“This award is a genuine testament to the club’s achievements – not just in protecting swimmers and keeping beachgoers safe, but also through its efforts in community education, youth development, and fostering healthy opportunities for its members and the local community,” Mr Brennan said.
Mermaid Beach has experienced a strong growth in membership across the past three seasons and, in 2013/14, increased its active patrolling members by 11%, nippers by 16% and overall club membership by 2%.
Throughout the past season, its volunteer members performed more than 6,800 hours on patrol, performing 1,539 preventative actions and, most importantly, directly saving 19 lives in the process.
Away from the beach, the Club was just as active, working directly with Broadbeach State School to educate students about surf safety, and partnering with community welfare organization Reachwise to provide support and mentoring services for disadvantaged families in their local area.
In other awards, Northcliffe teenager Christie Short showed the future of lifesaving on the Gold Coast is in safe hands, named as Queensland’s Under-18 Surf Lifesaver of the Year.
Christie joined the surf lifesaving movement in 2005 and, since then, the 17-year-old has performed 886 volunteer beach patrol hours. In 2013/14 alone she spent more than 160 hours on patrol watching over swimmers and protecting beachgoers.
“While Christie is still quite young in her lifesaving career, she certainly demonstrates a maturity well beyond her years which has earned her the respect of the entire lifesaving community,” Mr Brennan said.
“Her passion for surf lifesaving and beach safety is second to none, and I’m confident that we have a great future ahead of us with members like Christie involved in the movement,” he said.
Broadbeach SLSC member Tim Wilson was also recognised as SLSQ’s Lifeguard of the Year for his work at Tallebudgera Creek and Stradbroke Island throughout 2013/14.