Far North Coast Lifesaver Spreads Surf Safety Message

Australia’s most popular primary aged surf education program has closed the books on another successful season with 12,000 country students getting a lesson on surf safety from our volunteer lifesavers, with one local lifesaver enjoying a very special trip.

Yamba SLSC Life Member Jim Saunders has recently returned from visiting schools in Quirindi, Gunnedah and Narrabri where his touring partner was his son Phill Boxsell.

The pair made quite the duo as they toured the countryside with boxes of safety gear, flags and a manikin that the school children affectionately christened ‘Dave’.

“What I really enjoyed about it was being able to go back to basics and just go around and talk to kids about the surf. It certainly was one of the most fun weeks I have had for quite some time and I really enjoyed the experience,” said Jim Saunders.

“It was pretty special to do the trip with my son Phill as well and I was very proud to be able to experience that. One of the great things was the tour went through the town where my father was born so to be able to visit there with him was pretty great.”

Jim, who has a lifetime love of Surf Life Saving gained over six decades and three different clubs, was surprised with the knowledge that the kids had.

“They all watch Bondi Rescue which I guess helps, it’s all about how to stay safe in the waves,” he laughed.

“Most of them have been to the beach before, which is very different to country kids when I was growing up. They were all so enthusiastic and keen to learn.”

Son Phill who lives on the Central Coast and is a member of Macmasters Beach SLSC said it was a fantastic trip.

“To share some quality time with my father was very special. With over 60 years’ service it also gave the children a great insight into surf lifesaving in the 1950s and how it has evolved, and importantly some things have not changed such as the red and yellow flags,” Mr Boxsell said.

“It was also an opportunity to enjoy country life and meet new people while spreading key messages of surf safety to the kids.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Officer Stacey Pidgeon paid tribute to the dedicated volunteers who presented the Beach to Bush program.

“It really is a unique program in its delivery and the way we can educate so many children at the one time. I would really like to thank the presenters who gave up their valuable time to help deliver these vital safety messages.

“By all reports they had a fantastic time out on the road and the kids really gained something out of it as well,” Ms Pidgeon said.

The Beach to Bush Program, supported by ClubsNSW and the NSW Cancer Institute, is the largest and most innovative surf safety education program in Australia, having reached more than 270,000 primary school students since it began in 1994.

The 2015 Beach to Bush Program ran from November 23-27 and visited the following locations;

Inverell, Glen Innes, Grafton, Armidale, Guyra, Dorrigo, Walcha, Bendemeer, Manilla, Bingara, Uralla, Quirindi Gunnedah, Narrabri, Lithgow Region, Goulburn Region, Wagga Wagga Region, Narrandera, Griffith, Leeton and Coolamon.

Photograph - Phil Boxsell and Jim Saunders take time out to pose for pictures during the 2015 Beach to Bush tour

Fri 4 Dec 2015