Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) capped off another successful year as they recognised the efforts of their members at the annual Awards of Excellence at Crown Perth on Saturday night, with more than 460 attendees representing members from WA’s 31 clubs, corporate and government partners, and invited guests.
SLSWA President Craig Smith-Gander paid tribute to the more than 21,000 members who dedicate their weekends and holidays to the movement.
“These people are the everyday heroes of our beaches, all of whom commit countless hours of service to uphold our mission of saving lives and creating great communities,” said Mr Smith-Gander.
“Tonight is about celebrating the volunteers who are the lifeblood of this great movement.”
Mr Smith-Gander also praised the many corporate and government partners whose support enabled the organisation to make a real difference in the community.
In a year where volunteers surf lifesavers spent 111,650 hours patrolling WA’s beaches, a decrease in the number of rescues (408) and first aids (1,877) performed was seen as a positive, due to stronger and more efficient preventative actions being performed.
Amongst the major award winners on the evening was Mandurah Surf Life Saving Club’s Russell Price, who was named AGL Lifesaver of the Year. In addition to becoming a jet-ski driver and contributing a significant amount of time on the beach, this season Mr Price also took on the role as Director of Lifesaving at Mandurah SLSC to lead changes that will see the club continue to grow its coverage and impact in years to come.
Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club had an outstanding evening, taking out four of the top gongs including Patrol Club of the year, while member Mike Shaw took both the AGL Volunteer of the Year and Trainer of the Year titles.
In the sporting arena, Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club’s Jackson Symonds took out his fifth Open Athlete of the Year award, capping off a huge season which saw him break the current Australian open beach sprint record, being the first ever to achieve five championship titles.
Trigg Island’s Will Savage was named Youth Athlete of Year after a successful season which saw the 16-year-old become the first athlete to take out both the Under 17 and Open Ironman titles at the 2019 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships, before heading to the Aussies where he added bronze in the U17 Board Relay, and 5th in the Under 17 Ironman to his resume.
Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club had an outstanding evening as reigning WA and Australian Official of the Year, Sandy Clarke, again claimed the WA title, while fellow club members Lyn Brosens and Tony Greenfield took out the Administration and Support Operations Volunteer of the Year titles respectively.
In the final award of the evening, North Cottesloe topped off an impressive year in which they also celebrated their centenary, taking home the Lavan Club of the Year title, along with a cheque for $10,000.
The winners of the following awards will go on to represent WA at the Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence later this year: Community Program, Official, Coach, Youth Athlete, Open Athlete, Trainer, Assessor, Youth Lifesaver, AGL Lifesaver, AGL Volunteer and Lavan Club of the Year.
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