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Like many 15-year-olds, Charlie Watts loves skateboarding. He also loves spending his time at the beach as a lifesaver. One night, while skating down a hill, he fell off his board and shattered his skull - leaving him in a coma. Now fully recovered, Charlie is determined to thank the medical teams that saved his life and the surf club that supported his recovery.

After his accident, Charlie spent three days in a coma on life-support with his anxious parents at his bedside. Charlie’s doctors didn’t know if he would live. It was touch and go.

After 11 days in Hospital, a very lucky and thankful Charlie Watts was allowed to go home.

Charlie is so grateful for the care he was given by the doctors and nurses at the Sydney Children’s Hospital that he’s decided to fundraise to support the hospital that saved his life.

“I owe my life to the ambulance crews and ER doctors at Royal North Shore Hospital. And to the ICU teams at Sydney Children’s Hospital, where I was transferred a few hours after being scraped up off the road. Now I’m recovered and I want to give back,” said Charlie Watts.

“On October 27, I will be board-paddling from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, the home of my Surf Life Saving club, to raise money for the Intensive Care Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital,” he said.

Charlie says that he didn’t fully come to terms with the seriousness of his accident until he started sharing his story - including writing articles for the local newspaper. He says he was in denial about how close he came to death, but he now realises how lucky he is to be alive.

Charlie Watts on life support in intensive care

To Charlie, his involvement with his surf club is very special - it’s like a second home. He says that he received a huge amount of support from Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club and was welcomed back on patrol even before being cleared to go back the ocean. He was still able to keep a watchful eye on people in the water and was assigned supporting roles on the beach.

“The reason I’m doing the paddle is that I love Surf Life Saving endless amounts and without the ICU at Sydney Children's, I would not be here to do my favourite thing – lifesaving,” said Charlie.

The Bondi to Coogee paddle is a distance of 4.3 kilometres and Charlie will be doing it on his Surf Race Board. Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving Club will be assisting Charlie’s fundraising initiative by providing him with IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) support.

“The paddle is another thing to physically push myself towards, something I also love to do. I want to give back because I was given a second chance at life by the ICU, I owe my life to the surgeons, doctors and nurses who took care of me while I was lying unconscious with breathing tubes in my throat,” said Charlie.

Charlie’s accident meant he only started active beach patrol half-way through last season. This didn’t prevent him spending almost 100 hours patrolling Bondi Beach in the 2018/19 season. He won the Harry Nightingale U15 Cadet Patrolman of the Year and the Kevin Murray Scholarship Award - a great achievement for a young bloke recovering from such a serious injury.

With this kind of drive and initiative, Charlie Watts is clearly a kid with a bright future ahead of him. Surf Life Saving NSW wishes him all the best for his fundraising paddle on Sunday October 27.

To support Charlie’s fundraising paddle you can donate on his Go Fund Me page.

Charlie outside Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club


Friday 11 October 2019