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For Evans Head-Casino surf lifesaver Paul Ellem, passing on knowledge acquired through his vast experience is second nature and his local community is set to benefit for years to come.

The popular club member was recognised for his efforts in the education field at the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Sydney last weekend when he was crowned Trainer of the Year.

Over the last year, Paul arranged surf lifesaving training for a number of high school students to achieve their Bronze Medallion, IRB Crew, and Silver Medallion IRB Driver awards. 

He has also helped students gain further awards including the ART, Spinal Management, Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue and Applied First Aid. 

“It’s not an award for me it’s an award for the club as a whole,” said Mr Ellem.

“Surf Lifesaving gives kids self-esteem and gives them a purpose in life that sometimes they can lack. They love it and get a lot of pride out of achieving something that isn’t easy.

“We don’t just hand out the awards they need to prove to us they have met the criteria and are capable of doing. Some of the participants can’t swim at the beginning but they acquire the skills as they go along and certainly have a lot of enthusiasm for it,” he said.

As a result of his effort, 10 % of students at Kyogle High School have gained surf lifesaving awards, and the passionate surf lifesaver has no intention of slowing down his work.

“My motivation is nothing more than giving kids an option about something that is awesome to be part of, and if it can help change a life then that is something that is very special as well,” he said.

The 2018 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence are proudly supported by Port Authority of New South Wales with almost 400 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathering at Dockside, Cockle Bay to celebrate the season that was.

Paul Ellem (Evans Head-Casino) is a passionate advocate for education

For a full list of all the winners, and to see photographs from the night, please visit the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence Event Page or our social media channels

Wednesday 29 August 2018