Clubbie Profile June: Engine Room Girls

Our Clubbie Profile for the month of June is the Engine Room Girls. These friendly Officials can be found at carnivals recording results and lending a hand where needed. This weekend they will be taking their talents down to Mollymook for the NSW IRB Championships.

Let’s meet Beris Meldrum, Sue Hunt and Wendy Walsh who have been known as the Engine Room Girls for a number of years. Their dedication to officiating at surf sports carnivals is amazing and they have been part of Surf Life Saving for a combined 51 years and counting.

Name: Beris Meldrum
Surf Life Saving Club: Terrigal SLSC
Career volunteer hours: I would say well over 1000 hours on the beach and as the Club Treasurer plus numerous carnivals as an official.
Occupation: Office Administrator/Book Keeper

Name: Sue Hunt
Surf Life Saving Club: Batemans Bay SLSC
Career volunteer hours: 557 patrol hours and countless admin hours
Occupation: VET Co-ordinator (Adult Ed – Batemans Bay)

Name: Wendy Walsh
Surf Life Saving Club: Copacabana SLSC and Terrigal SLSC
Career volunteer Hours: Over 200 carnivals, 3 years Junior Activities Coordinator, 4 years Admin Director and endless hours doing other voluntary tasks.
Occupation: Real Estate


When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?
Beris: I joined Surf Life Saving in 1989 because my children wanted to be Nippers.
Sue: In 2009, I was “volunteered” by a friend to become part of Surf Life Saving and I have never looked back. It was the best thing that anyone has ever done for me.
Wendy: 1996 at Copacabana with my children in Nippers and Terrigal in 2013 when my eldest daughter did a competition transfer to Terrigal to do all things in boats.

What do you like about being an Official?
Beris: My time as an Official has been great. I love being close to the action and competitors but most of all helping Terrigal.
Sue: The people.
Wendy: Travelling and spending time with some pretty inspirational people.

What is it about IRB competition that you like?
Beris: IRB competitions are very family orientated and it's always fun to go away working with lots of committed people.
Sue: Again the people, the noise and excitement! IRB people are different…while they are serious about what they do; they have a whole lot of fun doing it.
Wendy: The pace at which they run - fast, furious and with such precision. To watch these competitors hone their skills as they pick up their patients is very impressive. Not that we see very much as our heads are down working. IRB officials and competitors are amazing people. Then there is the thrum of the engines as they race out to the cans.

Do you have a nickname for the three of you? If so, what is it and why?
Beris: Engine Room Girls.
Sue: Hope not!!!
Wendy: I guess we are known as the Engine Room Girls because we have an Engine tent on the beach.

Favourite memory as an Official?
Beris: My first State Age Championships in the mid-1990s when everyone was patient with me as I was a new official.
Sue: I know as an Official I am supposed to be impartial, but seeing my Novice IRB crew win a gold medal in their first season and the excitement on their faces.
Wendy: I have a lot of memories as an Official but one that stands out would probably be when I was asked to recite the Officials’ Oath at the Australian Pool Championships last year.

Favourite beach that isn’t yours?
Beris: Mollymook Beach.
Sue: Probably Tathra - no phone service or internet meaning no one can get me, it’s just me and the beach.
Wendy: I would have to say Catherine Hill Bay, I love the wharf.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why?
Beris: I admire referees. They have extreme patience and cool demeanour in sometimes very stressful situations.
Sue: There is a list…where would you start!! Tony Vella & Tracy Innes (Batemans Bay) and Tony Rettke (FSC Branch President), all inspirational leaders who have given me faith that I can achieve anything in SLS and beyond. Their dedication and commitment to SLS makes you want to give more.
Wendy: I have a list. Denise Lees who has been my go to person since I first took on the role of Junior Activities Coordinator. Denise is a tower of strength with a wealth of knowledge which she is only too happy to share. Mal Flew for his unassuming leadership and believing in me and the job I do at the IRB Carnivals. And last but not least, NSW President Tony Haven who is always there to help when needed at State Championships.

Anything else you would like to add?
Sue: Surf Life Saving is an extraordinary organisation full of extraordinary people doing extraordinary work! I am incredibly proud to be part of this and be able to make a meaningful contribution to the community.
Wendy: I am so grateful to have met some amazing people all over Australia through Surf Life Saving. To be a small part of this iconic organisation is something I am proud of. This is my 11th year as an Official, 6th with the IRBs and I hope to be here for many more.

Photo above L-R: Beris Meldrum, Sue Hunt and Wendy Walsh.

Photo L-R: Tony Haven (SLSNSW President), Wendy Walsh, Sue Hunt and Beris Meldrum.

Fri 26 Jun 2015