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A strong season for Tacking Point SLSC, south of Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast, has been recognised at state level; the club taking out two categories at the Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence.

In recognition of their ‘Dippers’ program – the modified delivery of Nippers and surf education for anyone with specific learning needs – the club was awarded the Community Education Program of the Year.

Meanwhile, Sandra Slattery picked up the Administrator of the Year award after leading in the implementation of the Dippers program on behalf of Autism Australia.

“We had 12 young participants who had never been in the water before and by the end of the program they knew signals to be able to come in safely,” Sandra said.

“It was one of the many examples of when the club comes together to work towards something.

“We’re not the biggest club in Port Macquarie but we all pull together to do what we need to do; this program is just an example.”

Complimentary club membership and resources were provided and over the seven-week program, significant improvement and confidence was observed in Dippers program participants.

“It’s just great to see the teamwork, which is what I said when I accepted the award – things like this, it’s thanks to the branch and the team around me,” Sandra added.

Tacking Point proved the most successful club north of the Hunter on the night, however individual praise was also reserved for husband-and-wife duo, Jeanette and Jerrad Allen out of Pacific Palms SLSC, south of Forster, who picked up the President’s Medal on the night.

Awarded by the sitting Surf Life Saving NSW President, the medal is a special honour awarded to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to Surf Life Saving through in-depth or broad knowledge, service, or support that has positively impacted the movement, its members, or the broader community.

The pair wear many hats within their surf club, playing a part in everything from Senior Leadership, to trainers, patrol captains, as Age and Nippers Managers, rescue craft operators and as key members of the club’s call-out team.

They have been involved in a significant number of brave and major rescues, the most recent being an after-hours rescue of two rock fishers in distress which would go on to earn a Rescue of the Month award in September 2022, and their volunteerism extends beyond the beach to the flood emergencies that have ravaged parts of NSW over the last 24 months.

“We don’t do it for this but to be acknowledged and recognised for all the work is fantastic,” Jerrad said.

“Meeting great people along the way, it’s what brings you back. It’s important to us that we teach our kids to be community-minded,” Jeanette added.

Each state winner will now progress through to be considered for national awards ahead of the Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence later this year.

Banner Image: Lucy Humphries Photography

Tuesday 29 August 2023