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At the core of the mission of our membership is saving lives – the ultimate aim of what all the training, education and dedication represents when we hit the beach.

As we edge closer to our NSW Awards of Excellence ceremony – a night to celebrate the incredible people in our organisation and the impact they have on their clubs, members and their local communities – we are highlighting some of the inspirational people who are being recognised for their contribution to the community through Surf Life Saving.

The Lifesaving category includes Patrol Captain of the Year, Support Operations Member of the Year and Rescue of the Year.

These awards are pivotal in highlighting the achievements of our membership throughout the season – showcasing the extensive skillsets, exceptional volunteerism and, in many cases, the leadership required on and off our beaches.

“Patrolling is about playing to everyone’s strengths,” Manly LSC member and Patrol Captain of the Year finalist, Kirsty Dollisson said.

“We’re doing something serious and important, but it also has to be something you want to keep doing, so the responsibility is on us to build sufficient confidence so the membership can complete their duties.”

Kirsty is a long-time volunteer who joined the movement as many do, to give back to the community.

She is proud of her club, and by extension the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch, for producing strong trainers who, in turn, produce strong lifesavers.

As a Patrol Captain, she’s confident her team is “capable and ready for action when required”, and while she understands the responsibility that comes with the role, she also appreciates the perks.

“I think the best part about it and why lifesaving is so enjoyable, people from all walks of life come together to give back to the community,” she said.

“Experiencing that community and taking on this responsibility, I love it.”

Similarly, sometimes taking on new responsibilities within lifesaving offers unique opportunities to grow as an individual, a club, and more widely, as an organisation.

“I think it’s good to have new people and new perspectives in roles every now and then, taking on something new, so you can expand on things and keep it evolving – that’s why I put my hand up for this,” Support Operations Member of the Year finalist and Kiama SLSC member, Lachlan Davidson said.

Lachlan’s role in Support Operations on the South Coast includes wearing many hats – his work as a Trainer, Patrol Captain, and Powercraft Supervisor, to name a few, have also seen him named as a Youth Volunteer of the Year finalist – but he has found significant reward in ensuring his club is competent on the water and meeting requirements.

“I saw the opportunity to work with members and encourage them,” he said.

“Seeing all the members that were super hesitant when the jet ski was brought in to go on and realise the ability of the asset, put in the time to get their qualifications and grow, the members who weren’t involved before that are now putting up their hand, it’s really good.

“I’m young, and sometimes it’s difficult, but it’s just about listening and taking on their thoughts and advice rather than just going at it the way you think.

“Yes, I’m in the position so I have the overall calls, but I like taking the time to make sure everyone’s thoughts are considered.”

The Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence will be held on Saturday 26 August at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney at 6.30pm. To keep up with the award winners and how the night plays out, follow our social media channels.

Patrol Captain of the Year

Brett Fischer, Cabarita Beach SLSC

David Moore, Tacking Point SLSC

Reece Dodds, Cape Hawke SLSC

Rocky Wolters, Avoca Beach SLSC

Kirsty Dollisson, Manly LSC

Cameron Watson, Era SLSC

Rachelle Balez, Scarborough Wombarra SLSC

Support Operations Member of the Year

Peter Sweetman, Yamba SLSC

Tony Silvia, South West Rocks SLSC

Leigh Croker, Crowdy Head SLSC

Steven Lee, Shelly Beach SLSC

Dylan Kovacevich, Palm Beach SLSC

Michael Byrne, Elouera SLSC

Richard Walsh, Windang SLSC

Lachlan Davidson, Kiama SLSC

Ben Bate, Narooma SLSC

Rescue of the Year

July 2022 – Avalon Beach SLSC

August 2022 – Australian Lifeguard Service MNC

September 2022 – LNC Support Operations / Pacific Palms SLSC

October 2022 – South West Rocks SLSC

November 2022 – Avoca Beach SLSC

December 2022 – Wamberal SLSC

January 2023 – North Bondi SLSC

February 2023 – Elouera SLSC

March 2023 – Ocean Beach SLSC

April 2023 – The Entrance SLSC

June 2023 – LNC Support Operations

Thursday 24 August 2023