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The final day of the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships will be fondly remembered by the state’s newest Life Members after they were formally recognised for their dedication to the movement.

Ten esteemed surf lifesavers were presented with their pin and welcomed into the ranks of Life Members by SLSNSW President David Murray during a ceremony at Blacksmiths Beach on Sunday 11 March.

Combined the group boast over 300 years of experience on patrol and have made significant contributions in areas as diverse as education, lifesaving, and surf sport.

They have been Club Presidents and Trainers, Competitors and Branch Directors, Officials and IRB Drivers.

After travelling across Australia and the world in pursuit of their passion over many years it’s clear what they all share is a love for the ocean.

“It’s always a wonderful experience to be able to induct new members as Life Members because at its heart our organisation is our members,” said NSW CEO Steven Pearce.

“The class of 2018 have certainly played their part across all areas of the movement over many years of service and are deserving of this accolade,” he said.

SLSNSW congratulates the following members on their elevation to Life Member status.

Robert Asser – Freshwater SLSC

In the 53 years since he obtained his Bronze Medallion in 1965, Robert Asser has been a member of three Surf Life Saving Clubs while being a passionate advocate for the traditional sports of R&R and March Past and has contributed enthusiastically at all levels.

Between 1964 and 1986 Robert was a member of Long Reef SLSC before joining North Narrabeen for 21 seasons until the end of 2007.

In 2005 he joined Freshwater SLSC, beginning an association that continues today.

It has been in the area of coaching that Rob has really made his mark.

Some of his many achievements include helping North Narrabeen win its first Australian R&R medal in over 70 years when he guided the U19s to third place in 2004, he coached the Freshwater March Past team to an Australian gold medal in 2005, and he has mentored many branch and State Championship winning teams in these disciplines.

Arguably one of his finest achievements is that he continues to encourage his charges to become coaches themselves, ensuring that the knowledge and skills will be passed on to future lifesavers.

He continues to be an active surf sport official at branch, state, national and international levels.

Robert Asser was awarded Life Membership of Sydney Northern Beaches Branch in 2014.

Gary Daly – Coogee SLSC

Surf Life Saving has been a constant presence in Gary Daly’s life since he joined as a Nipper in 1972.

A decade later he had obtained his Bronze Medallion and over the ensuring seasons, contributed as a member of four Sydney clubs (Coogee 1979-present, Bondi 1990-98, North Bondi 2007-09, and Burning Palms 2007-present).

Over the years he has been actively and extensively involved in lifesaving, sport and education.

Some of the many positions he has held at club level include President, Treasurer, and Club Captain (Coogee SLSC) as well as being Treasurer and Club Instructor/Assessor at Burning Palms SLSC.

Gary also has the distinction of achieving 100% patrol attendance for 15 consecutive years and has patrolled some of Sydney’s busiest beaches.

At branch level he has served on numerous committees, always willing to take on additional responsibilities. One key position he held was the Sydney Branch Director of Lifesaving from 2005-07. 

He has also been an active NSW official for 17 years and has been a member of many panels and committees convened by Surf Life Saving NSW.

Gary achieved Life Membership of Coogee SLSC in 2001, and was awarded the same status at Sydney Branch in 2010.

Geoffrey Forshaw – Cronulla SLSC

Cronulla’s Geoffrey Forshaw’s foray into Surf Life Saving began as a 17-year-old when he obtained his Bronze Medallion in 1961.

Over the next five decades his passion for the movement would continue to grow as he went on to make significant contributions across a diverse range of areas.

A more than handy surfboat rower in his youth, Geoffrey has held many important positions at club and branch level.

He has held almost every leadership position at his beloved club and has served an incredible 48 years on various committees.

In the late 1980s he served as Sydney Branch President for five years during a time of great change, and was instrumental in overcoming operational issues within the helicopter rescue service. It was just one of many roles this quiet achiever performed at branch level.

Geoffrey is also a recipient of the International Lifesaving Society (ILS) citation of merit, an award he achieved in 1993.

Today he continues his role as respected patron of Cronulla SLSC where his counsel is often sought.

He was made a Life Member of his club in 1978 and of Sydney Branch in 2001.

Jeffery Hewitt – South Curl Curl SLSC

In the 53 summers that have passed since a young Jeff Hewitt obtained his Bronze Medallion, he has continued to make many distinguished contributions to the world of Surf Life Saving.

Jeff’s journey began at Warriewood SLSC and incorporated stints at Freshwater, North Narrabeen and now South Curl Curl.

At club level he has been a trainer, official, and an avid patrol member. He is a big believer in the importance of continually acquiring new skills and knowledge.

At Branch level he has worn many hats including a successful five year stint as Director of Competition and Coaching, and then a highly regarded term as Deputy President.

While a decision to focus on his career kept him away from the movement for a time, his passion for the ocean never diminished.

Perhaps his greatest contribution has been his role in helping to establish the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Traumatic Incident Peer Support Program (TIPS). This was the first of its type in Australia and continues to play an important role in protecting the welfare of members involved in critical incidents.

Jeff has the distinction of being made a Life Member of the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch in 2004 before achieving the same honour at South Curl Curl in 2010.

Donald McAlister – Corrimal SLSC

The Corrimal SLSC runs deep in Don McAlister’s DNA and he fondly recalls his time spent tossing bricks to the labourers building the club 62 years ago. After joining the Surf Life Saving family, his passion for the movement has never waned.

Over the years he has contributed greatly to Corrimal, wearing many hats including competitor for an outstanding 44 years in many different events, Chief Instructor, and Assistant Secretary among others. Not a bad effort for someone who only signed up because his younger brother was involved with the club.

Sitting proudly among his many distinguished achievements is his six seasons of 100% patrol attendance during the 1960s, while his love of March Past has given him many of his greatest memories.

He continues to inspire members right across the Illawarra and takes great joy in congratulating the next generation of Nippers on their achievements.

Outside of the movement he is a strongly community minded individual and a doting grandfather who spends a lot of his time volunteering in various roles.

Don was made a Life Member of his beloved club in 1976 and of the Illawarra Branch in 2014.

Ray Petersen – Manly LSC

Manly’s Ray Petersen has been involved in many areas of the Surf Life Saving movement since he obtained his Bronze Medallion in 1971.

Over the last four decades he has held many positions in both the senior and junior clubs, while also contributing significantly at branch level. Some of his achievements include nine years as Juniors Vice President and 34 years as the senior club’s R&R and Surf Belt coach.

At the turn of the century Ray rekindled his interest in lifesaving’s history, a passion he had never really lost, becoming a founding member of the SLSNSW History Panel. One of his many projects has included spending seven years compiling records of all lifesavers who served in conflicts. His research included correctly documenting members of Surf Life Saving recorded on the Fallen Lifesavers Memorial.

His meticulous work, commitment and research skills ensures that this precious record of Surf Life Saving’s history won’t be lost and future generations will be the beneficiaries of his considerable investment.

Ray is a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal (2000), a Life Member of Manly LSC, and in 2008 was granted Life Membership of Sydney Northern Beaches Branch.

Wayne Scott – Red Rock-Corindi SLSC

The man known to almost everyone as Wayne “Wheelie” Scott has had two stints in Surf Life Saving, with the 2017 Surf Sport Official of the Year making a significant contribution over his 33 summers in the red and yellow.

Wayne originally obtained his Bronze Medallion in 1956 at Port Kembla. He remained at the club until the end of 1962, serving as an examiner and instructor during that time.

His hiatus ended in the 1990s after he was approached by the late Pedro McHenry and Wayne became one of the key driving forces behind the formation of the Red Rock-Corindi SLSC.

For the past 27 years Wayne has been a dedicated volunteer at club and branch level. At various times he has been club president, deputy president, club captain, education officer and radio officer.

In 2017 he notched up his 20th consecutive season as North Coast Director of Surf Sport, during which time he has earned enormous respect from volunteers across northern NSW after refereeing many Championships.

In 2016 Wayne travelled to the Netherlands after he was selected as an official for the World Life Saving Championships.

Wayne Scott is a Life Member of both his club (2002) and the North Coast Branch (2012).

Donald van Keimpema – Shelly Beach SLSC

The paths of Donald van Keimpema and Surf Life Saving first intersected at Shelly Beach on the NSW Central Coast in 1991.

During the ensuring summers he has been heavily involved at club, branch, state, and national level.

From 2001 until 2007 he served as Club President of Shelly Beach SLSC, and has continued to contribute to his club in all areas, but his real passion has been surf sport.

Between 1999-2002 he was the Central Coast Director of Surf Sport, and since 2000 he has been an Australian Sports Official and member of the Pool Rescue Development Group.

Highly regarded by everyone he comes into contact with, Donald has worn many hats over the years.

He has been a referee or deputy at numerous championships including Pool Rescue, The Aussies, and the NSW titles.

His outstanding officiating skills were recognised in two consecutive seasons when he was named both NSW and Australian Official of the Year.

In 2016 Donald was elected NSW Director of Surf Sport, and later this year he will attend the World Life Saving Championships in South Australia where he is chief referee of the Masters Pool Championships and ILS Officials Assessment Coordinator.

John Wake – Coffs Harbour SLSC

John Wake’s journey into Surf Life Saving began when he obtained his Bronze Medallion at Urunga SLSC during the 1972/73 season which was the start of a passion that has continued for 45 straight summers.

He spent eight seasons at Urunga on patrol before making the move to his current club, Coffs Harbour where he has been heavily involved across all areas of the movement since first pulling on the cap in 1980.  

At his club he has held roles as diverse as IRB Captain, Club Treasurer, and the club’s licensee, while at a branch level he has also made a significant contribution in numerous areas including a five-year stint as a Duty Officer and his current role as Director of Finance.

Over the years he has conducted scrutineering courses for both SLSNSW and SLSQ, and he has been heavily involved in his local community.

John continues to be an active official in both IRB and summer competition at a branch, state, and national level and was awarded Life Membership with Coffs Harbour SLSC in 2009 before receiving the same acknowledgment from the North Coast Branch the following year.

David Unger – Ocean Beach SLSC

David Unger’s first foray into Surf Life Saving came in 1990 at Ocean Beach SLSC on the state’s Central Coast.

After safely acquiring his prized Bronze Medallion it was only a matter of time before he made his mark across all areas of the movement.

He has been a patrolling member of his club since 1995 and spent a decade and half as a patrol captain, but it is in the area of surf sport where David has really carved a niche.

Over the years he has become one of the sport’s most decorated officials having won official of the year at a local, state, and national level. His resume also includes the National Medal of Service (2013) awarded by SLSA.

Determined to show off his home beach he has also played a key role on the organising committees for the 2005 and 2013 State Championships held at Ocean Beach/Umina.

In recent seasons he has also actively encouraged fellow club members both at home and further afield to become officials having spent over two decades officiating at all levels.

David is a Life Member of both Ocean Beach SLSC and of the Central Coast Branch, an honour he achieved in 2015.


Wednesday 28 March 2018