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Port Macquarie Lifeguard Supervisor James Turnham was rewarded for his outstanding contribution to the Australian Lifeguard Service in Sydney on Saturday night where he was crowned the 2018 DHL Lifeguard of the Year at the Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence.

The award was announced at a gala ceremony at the Art Gallery of NSW with hundreds of members of the Surf Life Saving community in attendance.

Turnham was a popular winner and was recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty throughout the 2017/18 season.

As a lifeguard, educator, mentor, and drone operator James’ commitment and passion to his job has been simply outstanding.

In the classroom he delivered school surf safety presentations to over 4000 pupils, as well as leading a pilot program helping 35 senior students to obtain their Surf Rescue Certificate.

He has willingly embraced technology by coordinating the DPI Drone program in Port Macquarie and also provided the UAV surveillance for the NSW State Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont.

James has also shared his knowledge of drones much further afield after he was selected to represent the Australian Lifeguard Service and Surf Life Saving NSW on the five-day trip last July to some of the country’s most remote areas near Cape York in Far North Queensland.

A key goal of the visit was to meet with the indigenous rangers, train them in the basics of UAV technology, and also highlight the opportunities that it could offer them in their line of work, such as monitoring the nesting pattern of turtles along the coastline, checking the fences, counting wild pig numbers, quickly spotting bushfires and monitoring the quality of lagoons.

As a Port Macquarie Lifeguard, Turnham was first responder to a number of serious incidents throughout the season, and always conducted himself in a professional manner. He also demonstrated his hidden talents guest editing the Australian Lifeguard Publication in 2017.

In August he was named the NSW Lifeguard of the Year.

“I’m very honoured to win this award, but I’m just doing my job,” Turnham said.

“There are many other lifeguards that give their job everything as well.

“Community education is certainly a highlight.  We have been lucky enough to go round to the local primary schools and educate the kids about beach safety. It’s great to be part of such a community-based service.”

“All of us go out there to do a professional service for our community and it’s true what they say, we have a great job and lifestyle, but at the end of the day I do what I do because I love going out there and helping people,” he said.

It's been a big season for James Turnham who was crowned the DHL Lifeguard of the Year. He's pictured here with SLSNSW President David Murray at the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence in August.


Tuesday 30 October 2018