Woolgoolga Lifesavers Spread Surf Safety Message

Australia’s most popular primary aged surf education program has closed the books on another successful season with two volunteer lifesavers from Woolgoolga helping to spread the surf safety message to hundreds of country kids.

Woolgoolga surf club members Trevor Acason and Sue Neill have recently returned from speaking to students in Inverell, Glen Innes and Grafton as part of the annual Beach to Bush program.

While there were plenty of light hearted moments as students posed in the iconic red and yellow patrol shirts and put on zinc cream, the lessons are driven by a serious concern.

Statistics revealed that almost half of drownings in NSW waters involved a victims who lived over 50 kilometres from the beach, and with many country kids not getting the same access to surf safety education safety, it was determined that the best way to help keep these kids stay safe at the beach was to take the lessons teachings to them.

The duo were part of a team of 17 volunteer presenters from around the state who toured a diverse range of country areas, ensuring that the young students had access to the very best information to help keep them safe while enjoying the beach environment.

It is even more important this time of year as beaches across the North Coast gear up for the expected influx of tourists with many people visiting the region from country areas over the summer holidays .

Trevor Acason has spent 30 years in the lifesaving movement, but this was his first time presenting on the Beach to Bush tour. It was an experience he greatly enjoyed.

“Having been a teacher for the last 40 years, I enjoyed interacting with children again and offering advice on beach safety which is so important,” Mr Acason said.

“The message we were giving to the kids was have a great time at the beach but respect your surroundings and recognise the dangers and how to manage difficult situations.”

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.

Fri 4 Dec 2015