The Newcastle Permanent Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast branch awards of excellence were held on Saturday, June 2 at Tuncurry Sporties, with 110 members and guests attending.
Branch president and Surf Life Saving NSW deputy president, Brian Wilcox welcomed guests, including representatives of major sponsors Newcastle Permanent Building Society, Kellie O’Sullivan and Craig and Eleonore Fuller.
Ms O’Sullivan was pleased to speak on the benefits to the community of surf life saving youth programs such as the junior lifesavers of the year and youth opportunity makers.
Junior lifesaver winners, Abbey Mulligan from Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) and Matthew Pieschel from Crowdy Head SLSC spoke on their experiences attending the State camp and meeting other impressive junior lifesavers from across the State.
Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, and his wife Charlotte congratulated members on their dedication to the community, noting that more than 14,000 patrol hours had been completed in this branch alone in the last twelve months to keep our beach-goers safe.
While there were 36 coastal deaths in NSW this season there were none in the Lower North Coast branch for a second successive year running, an incredible statistic given the huge number of visitors throughout the year and the large surf which saw beaches closed on four occasions.
Representing MidCoast Council, mayor, Cr David West and wife Maureen, delivered an entertainingpersonal account of his lifesaving experiences.
He congratulated all members on their tremendous service and value to their community and the thousands of visitors to MidCoast Council beaches.
One highlight was the season in review video presentation which showed the many different facets of the organisation, and later a slideshow of the recent Australian Lifesaving Boat Emergency Rescue Training (ALBERT) was a highlight.
This will be loaded onto the Facebook page this week.
The under 19 athlete of the year was Claire Van Kampen, and the open athlete of the year was Brock Van Kampen, both from Cape Hawke.
Forster’s Kim Winter was the master’s athlete of the year, and team of the year went to Cape Hawke ladies boat crew, The Pearls.
Junior branch handicap point score went to Pacific Palms, junior branch champions were Forster and senior branch handicap point score went to Cape Hawke.
The senior branch champions were Cape Hawke, the rookie official of the year was Forster’s Gavin Williams, and official of the year went to Richard Everingham, also of Forster.
Coach of the year was Black Head’s Kevin Boag, age manager of the year went to Forster’s Daniel Romer, with Bruce Hughes from Crowdy Head highly commended.
Trainer of the year was Crowdy Head’s Brendan Pieschel, and Pacific Palms’ Jerrad Allen was highly commended.
Richard Brookes from Pacific Palms took the title of administrator of the year, while Forster’s Karen Kelly was highly commended, volunteer of the year went to Black Head’s Bruce White and the youth volunteer of the year was Jock Sweeney from Cape Hawke.
Support operations member of the year went to Cape Hawke’s Wayne Barry, patrol competition club of the year was Pacific Palms and the junior life savers of the year were Crowdy’s Matthew Pieschel and Cape Hawke’s Abby Mulligan.
Youth opportunity makers representatives were Xanthia Hughes and Brandon Wallace, both from Crowdy.
Young lifesaver of the year under 19 went to Forster’s Annalise Romer, while Cape Hawke’s Jeff Horn took lifesaver of the year.
Master’s lifesaver of the year was Old Bar’s Andrew Somerville, and patrol members recognition awards went to Hugh Sweeney, Pierce Jackson, Greg Randall, Jody Blair, Sharon McWhirter, David Bowland, Melissa Bawdan, Neolie Eady, Michelle Ellis, Christian Fieldhouse, Jeff deRooy, Brent Donaldson, Jane Lynch and Andrew Somerville.