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At the Surf Life Saving NSW Annual General Meeting held on Friday 6 November, two long-serving volunteer surf lifesavers were elevated to the distinguished position of NSW Life Member.

The Surf Life Saving New South Wales (SLSNSW) Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held at SLSNSW headquarters in Belrose, Sydney. The event is hosted by the SLSNSW President who presents the Annual Report. Board Members attend the AGM and report on the performance and achievements of the organisation over the previous 12 months. The occasion is also used to formally announce new Life Memberships as recognition of outstanding contributions to the Surf Life Saving movement from volunteer surf lifesavers in NSW.

President of Surf Life Saving NSW, George Shales OAM, said that being awarded with a life membership is a very significant achievement.

“NSW Life Membership is a significant honour and I would like to congratulate Tony Rettke and Michael Bretherton for their achievements and acknowledge their outstanding, continuing contribution to the Surf Life Saving movement,” said SLSNSW President George Shales.

Surf Life Saving NSW 2020/21 Life Member Inductees

Michael Bretherton – Garie SLSC and Burning Palms SLSC (Sydney Branch)

Michael Bretherton joined Garie SLSC in 1977 and Burning Palms SLSC in 1978 and he remains a member of both clubs today.

Over the past 43 years Michael has held numerous positions at a club, branch and state level and has enjoyed a myriad of achievements and awards.

Michal has, among other things, held the positions of NSW Director of Education and Branch Manager Education and has sat on various panels and committees including the Meritorious Award Committee and the Research & Development Committee.

Michael led significant change in the organisation’s award structure and the introduction of VET standards. He represented NSW on the National Board of Lifesaving.

Michal has won numerous awards including NSW Assessor of the Year, SLS Sydney Facilitator of the Year, Examiner of the Year and Selection Panel Lifesaver of the Year.

At a club level, Michael has held various positions including Garie SLSC Club Captain, Deputy Club President, Chief Training Officer, Director of Administration and Club President.

Michael has served on many committees during his time at Garie SLSC such as, Judiciary Committee,

Carnival Committee, Membership Committee and the Committee of Three. In 1998 Michael had his membership elevated to Life Membership of Garie SLSC.

Michael Bretherton - Garie SLSC and Burning Palms SLSC (Sydney Branch)

Tony Rettke – Tathra SLSC (Far South Coast Branch)

Over the past 36 years Anthony “Tony” Rettke has proven to be a committed and dedicated surf lifesaver and leader through the roles he’s held at every level. From his start as a Bronze Medallion holder to Patrol Captain, to Club President to Branch President, with myriad other roles and contributions, Tony has had an enthusiastic approach to Surf Life Saving that is infectious and makes others around him constantly strive to do their best.

Tony’s thoughtful and considered approach has resulted in him being recruited to serve on numerous committees, reviews and working groups at a State level over the years. He was also part of the original facilitator panel for the introduction of Powercraft Night Operations at State level.

Tony’s service extends to the success he has had in building the profile of Far South Coast Branch and Surf Life Saving as a whole. He is a frequent spokesperson on local, regional and even state media and is a very effective communicator. His natural and enthusiastic approach ensures the SLS message stands out.

Tony has had great success in building strong relationships with local and state government representatives and he is a strong and effective advocate for SLS locally and regionally.

Tony Rettke has a very significant record of service and achievements over his 36 years as a surf lifesaver.  Tony’s list of awards demonstrates a sustained commitment to improving his own skills, and his many years as Patrol Captain and trainer/assessor of a variety of awards prove his commitment to helping others grow and excel in their Surf Life Saving journey.

Tony’s skills as a surf lifesaver have been recognised with two of the higher ranking SLSA Meritorious Awards. He received the SLSA Meritorious Award with Silver Medallion Insert for the 2008 Tathra Wharf Tragedy which was followed by the SLSA Meritorious Award with Bronze Medallion Insert for the 2017 rescue of a rock fisherman off Tathra’s Kianinny Bay. He received the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year in 2010 and the Far South Coast Branch Rescue of the Year in 2017.

Tony is the current President of the Far South Coast Branch. He is a former Vice President of the Branch and IRB/Powercraft Supervisor and Country Championships Powercraft Coordinator.

At a club level Tony has also held numerous positions including President, Vice President, Branch Delegate, Patrol Captain, Trainer, Assessor and IRB Supervisor. He’s also a Level 1 Surf Coach.

Tony has participated in numerous Surf Sports events and won numerous awards at a Club and Branch level. These include Tathra Lifesaver of the Year, Tathra Club Person of the Year and Far South Coast Lifesaver of the Year.

Tony Rettke - Tathra SLSC (Far South Coast Branch)

2019/20 Surf Life Saving NSW Annual Report

2020 Surf Life Saving NSW Annual General Meeting Presentation