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Gary Driscoll is one of our most vibrant surf lifesavers and is creating amazing gateways for diversity in our organisation. This week we are celebrating our volunteer surf lifesavers as part of National Volunteer Week. We're taking the time to recognise the outstanding work of our members through a series of Q & A's with those who inspire us. 

How long have you been involved with Surf Life Saving? 

​I did my bronze medallion at the end of 2007 at North Bondi, so this season was my 11th.

What was it a defining reason for you joining? ​

I have always loved the water. I swam in a squad as a kid and played waterpolo in school and uni. This seemed the natural progression as I moved beyond competition, to continue what I loved but give back to the community at the same time.

Has your training as a lifesaver helped you save a life on or off the beach?

I was visiting my Nana when she had a stroke and I was able to fall back on the training I'd had at the club to help save her. Our training is really important and even if a lifesaver only helps find lost children, gives out band aids to kids tripping on the rocks or helps clean off blue bottles during their patrol, they have a greater knowledge that can be lifesaving beyond the beach.  

What's one of the most inspirational or memorable things that you've witnessed either within your club or on patrol? 

​Lifesavers with Pride invited disadvantaged LGBT youth group Twenty10 down for a beach awareness day. Seeing these kids who struggle with self-esteem and identity issues come out of their shells and enjoy the water made me really appreciate what we do, and double my commitment to welcoming the LGBT community into Surf Life Saving.

Why is volunteering as a surf lifesaver important to you and why do you continue to do it?  ​

Since becoming a lifesaver I have made so many friends both in my own club we well as from clubs around the country. I keep patrolling because it is just fun to be on the beach with my friends. It's just a great way to spend a weekend hanging out with my mates, while keeping the beaches safe.

You're driving the Lifesavers With Pride initiative; tell us about how and why it came about and what it contributes to our volunteer surf lifesavers.  ​

Lifesavers with Pride started in 2007 as a member initiative to promote lifesaving amongst the LGBT community, such as parading in Sydney's Mardi Gras. Since then we have also worked with clubs, and the organisation as a whole, to ensure we create an organisation that is inclusive and progressive for our LGBT members, and a place where new LGBT recruits can be themselves and feel welcome.

We have just created a scholarship program where LGBT members are supported through their Bronze Medallion, and are running a Proud Beaches workshop in the coming months for all clubs.  

We believe that the lifesavers on the beach should truly reflect the diversity of all beachgoers, be they male or female, young or old, LGBT or straight, and from every culture, race and nation. Check out our website for more information on what we do

One word to describe the feeling you get from being a surf lifesaver. ​




Tuesday 21 May 2019

Gary Driscoll

Gary Driscoll