Ben Matthews not only volunteers his time as a surf lifesaver but also with the State Emergency Service. We caught up with him for our last National Volunteer Week story.
How long have you been involved with Surf Life Saving?
I’ve been involved with Surf Life Saving since Nippers and have been patrolling for about 12 years. I’m currently a member of Newport SLSC.
What part of being a volunteer at your Cudgen is it that keeps you coming back each year?
Growing up around as a kid around the ocean and having a love for the water, Mum and dad signed me up for nippers and have loved the environment ever since.
Have you performed or been part of a rescue?
Over the past twelve years, I have been involved in countless rescues, however, people always remember their first rescue. For me, that was rescuing a person from a rip whilst on a roving patrol.
All rescues are significant. Whether it’s your first patrol or you’ve been doing it for years, you are always reminded of the meaning of the uniform and why you wear it.
What's one of the most memorable things that you've witnessed either within your club or on patrol?
For me, the most memorable thing was when my patrol rescued a large turtle from the middle of the flags. It’s fair to say it’s a patrol member's worst fear seeing a dark shape being helped out of the water but turns out it was a very tired and old sea turtle.
Tell us about what contributed to you winning Volunteer of the year and what did you achieve that year?
Being named volunteer of the year definitely came as a big surprise. Being a patrol captain, I love being able to educate and mentor others to reach their full potential and to do the best job they possibly can. The recognition is an added bonus for ultimately doing something that you have a love and passion for.
As a disability advocate, how far has Surf Life Saving come with inclusion for people living with a disability and what are you hoping we can achieve in this space in the short and long term?
Surf Life Saving accommodates everybody from every walk of life. When people think of Surf Life Saving, the first thing that comes to mind is patrolling a beach. But there is so much more within the organisation. I think more can be done to promote the other aspects of Surf Life Saving.
One word to describe the feeling you get from being a surf lifesaver.
Saturday 25 May 2019