Volunteer In The Spotlight- Richard Lytham OAM

Richard “Richie" Lytham from Collaroy SLSC is the epitome of a volunteer. Richie has turned his love of Surf Life Saving into an unfathomable number of volunteer hours, helping to improve and enrich the movement at all levels.

It would take all day to read the list of his many, many contributions and achievements but in a nutshell Richie has been involved with:

  • Collaroy SLSC for 26 years including three years as President and was awarded Life Membership of the Club, and later the Branch, SLSNSW and SLSA.
  • Sydney Northern Beaches Branch for 19 years including four years as President.
  • Surf Life Saving NSW for 23 years including nine years as State Surf Sports Adviser and 12 years on the State Rules and Regulations Committee.
  • Surf Life Saving Australia for 29 years including 24 years as a Surf Sports Official and five years as a Boat Area Referee for the Aussie Championships.
  • He has been awarded a Citation of Merit from the International Life Saving Federation.
  • He also founded and still heads up Dad’s Army - a group of Surf Life Saving members who dedicate a huge number of hours each year to the development and maintenance of competition gear across the state.

This is just a taste of some of Richie's achievements within Surf Life Saving!

In January this year Richie was recognised for his enormous contribution and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his outstanding services to Surf Life Saving. Two weeks ago he proudly accepted his medal at the investiture ceremony at Government House.

A fellow volunteer and member of Dad’s Army, Neil Purcell, has nothing but praise for Richie.

“He’s got a heart of gold. I don’t think he’ll stop (volunteering) until the day he can’t get out of bed. He just loves Surf Life Saving, loves the camaraderie of the people around him.”

Richie spends so much time volunteering at the Headquarters of SLSNSW he’s often mistaken for a member of staff.

“I’ve had a woman ask me before if I was the cook,” laughs Richie.

But for Richie none of that would matter if he didn’t love what he was doing.

“I wouldn’t be doing it unless I truly loved the movement and everything involved with it. The thing I really enjoy is that it brings people together from all different walks of life - I was working alongside a Supreme Court judge the other day - and puts us all on an equal footing. We all do it because we love it and that’s what brings us together.”

During National Volunteer Week, Surf Life Saving NSW would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers.

Fri 17 May 2013