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There wasn’t a patrol uniform in sight as lifesavers took a well-deserved break from the beach on Saturday night. It was an evening to honour the movement’s most outstanding volunteers for the 2017/18 season at a glittering gala in Sydney.

Almost 400 people attended the Surf Life Saving NSW annual Awards of Excellence, proudly supported by Port Authority of NSW, to celebrate volunteer lifesavers from around the state for their outstanding contributions in surf sport, lifesaving and rescues, education and administration.

Honours were shared across the state with the Central Coast enjoying a successful night as their lifesavers picked up seven awards including North Avoca’s Matt Slattery taking out the prestigious Port Authority Surf Lifesaver of the Year crown and Cathy Cole (Terrigal SLSC) named the state’s top volunteer.

Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches clubs had plenty of reasons to celebrate, picking up 10 awards between them including five of the sport prizes on offer and the Club of the Year going to Avalon Beach SLSC.

Bellambi’s Tegan Robertson (Young Volunteer of the Year), North Steyne’s Tracey Hare-Boyd (Patrol Captain of the Year), and Umina’s Patrol 1 (Patrol of the Year) all made history after being named the inaugural recipients of SLSNSW’s newest awards.

The Far North Coast picked up two awards (Official of the Year & Trainer of the Year), while Port Macquarie’s James Turnham was named NSW Lifeguard of the Year.

It was a night to remember for the Far South Coast Branch and clubs, with the small but enthusiastic contingent picking up five awards across a number of areas including the overall Branch of the Year. 

Official guests including the Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, herself a volunteer lifesaver, congratulated clubs throughout the state for their efforts.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said it was an occasion that befitted the contribution lifesavers make to their communities.

“On behalf of Surf Life Saving NSW I would like to congratulate all of our finalists and award winners. There is so much talent among our members and it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate so many great achievements,” he said.

2018 Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence Recipients

Surf Sport Awards   

Open Female R&R Team Freshwater SLSC the 2018 Surf Sports Team of the Year.

Member Services Awards

Nigel Penn of Bilgola SLSC the 2018 Presidents Medal recipient, with President David Murray.

Education Awards

'Honouring Our First Female Lifesavers' from Terrigal SLSC, the 2018 Initiative of the Year.

Lifesaving Awards

Tracey Hare-Boyd of North Steyne SLSC, the 2018 Patrol Captain of the Year.

Overall Awards

Matt Slattery of North Avoca SLSC, the 2018 Port Authority Surf Lifesaver of the Year.