AOE 2020 – SLSA Life Members
Life membership is awarded to members who have displayed distinguished voluntary service to the organisation sustained over a period of at least 20 years. In September this year SLSA hosted a virtual life members event to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of this special group of people.
The following nine surf lifesaving members were awarded SLSA Life Membership in 2020.
Norman Farmer ESM AM, Mordialloc LSC, VIC
Norm Farmer has been involved in SLS for over 40 years and has contributed at a Club, State, National and International level.
Norm is credited with a significant contribution to the amalgamation of Royal Life Saving Victoria and Surf Life Saving Victoria, which resulted in the formation of Life Saving Victoria and its entry into the Emergency Services Sector of Victoria.
Norm has been at the forefront of developments in the understanding of coastal safety and his commitment at a State, National and International level to the reduction of drownings is outstanding. He has authored numerous papers on drowning prevention and coastal environmental sustainability and developed standards for swimming pools. Norm drove the national research agenda at a time when very few people were thinking at this level. Norm pursued these issues which contributed to a more highly developed understanding of the potential impacts of global warming on coastal safety and the risks associated for local Surf Lifesaving Clubs.
Norm’s International contribution in the area of drowning, is both unique, sustained and distinguished. For a period in excess of 20 years he has been a driving force behind the World Conference on Drowning Prevention as well as serving as Chair of the Rescue and Education Commission, Chair of the Business Commission and more recently as President of the Asia Pacific Region and as Vice President of International Lifesaving Federation.
Christine Hopton OAM, Avalon Beach SLSC, NSW
Christine Hopton has been an outstanding club member, serving as the Vice-President of her club for eight years as well as 10 years on the Board of Management. She has contributed to her Branch where she served as President as well as being appointed as an Independent Director on the Board of Surf Life Saving Australia, becoming only the second female director to be appointed to the Board of SLSA in its history.
Christine has contributed to the development of women in surf lifesaving through running the National Leadership College (NLC) and dedicating her time to contribute to the NLC Program through mentoring young female lifesavers.
She attended and spoke at numerous SLS leadership courses and seminars and was also on the selection committee for the prestigious SLSA Club of the Year Award.
Appointed as a Director of the Surf Life Saving Foundation, Christine’s skill sets in Communication and Marketing helped the Foundation to look at sponsors and contributors in a different way which enabled a much more structured approach to this part of Surf Life Saving. Christine was the only Female Director to be appointed to this position.
Appointed to the Chair of the Nomination Committee, Christine lead the committee that was responsible for putting forward recommendations for the new appointments of Independent Directors and senior positions for the Advisory Committees.
Colin Laing, The Entrance SLSC, NSW
Colin Laing has been a member of the Surf Life Saving movement since 1958 and has been actively involved in all levels of lifesaving throughout this time.
In 2019 Colin became one of very few people in Surf Life Saving History to achieve 60 continuous years of patrols.
Colin’s commitment to supporting and developing volunteers within surf lifesaving has been numerous and as such, The Entrance SLSC and community have benefitted with many new members joining at the back of Colin’s efforts.
He has won numerous Branch, State and National medals and has held many positions within his club ranging from President to Club Trainer and Surf Sports Coach. Col has also held many positions within the Branch, from Assessor, to Branch Coach, as well as Branch and State Surf Sports official.
Impressively, Col is a Life Member of both The Entrance Surf Life Saving Club, and a Life Member of North Entrance, as well as a Life Member of Surf Life Saving Central Coast and a Life Member of Surf Life Saving NSW. He was the foundation President of North Entrance SLSC in 1976 and is still an active member of that club today.
Surf Life Saving Central Coast (SLSCC) is extremely lucky to have Colin Laing within its ranks as he has spent countless hours coaching and training younger members to save lives on the Central Coast beaches.
Through being an assessor, Col has also ensured that the skills and knowledge of new members is in accordance with Surf Life Saving’s best practices and procedures.
His contribution to the North Entrance Club has created an enormous respect from not only the club’s members, but also from members of other clubs right across the Branch, State and Country.
In 1986 he was awarded an Outstanding Service Medal from Wyong Council for services to Surf Lifesaving.
Geraldine Miller, Bulli SLSC, NSW
Geraldine has paved the way in coaching for females in SLS across the whole movement.
Geraldine has made a unique and significant contribution to women in Surf Life Saving, including being the lead contributor to the SLS Female Athlete Handbook, which was first published in September 2004.
Geraldine co-ordinated research from many different fields (medical and athletic) to develop a wholistic understanding of female athletes in SLS and provide advice on the best management strategies to optimise athlete performance and wellbeing.
Geraldine also served as the only female member on the Board of Surf Sports and is credited with introducing the ski leg to the ironwoman event.
Geraldine has dedicated and continues to give countless hours to clubs and branches, running clinics for athletes and competitors and serving as a surf sports official.
She is credited with going beyond the expectations of a surf sports coach which is proven by the success her athletes have had at major Championships and the testimony of her athletes.
Jenny Kenny, Cudgen Headland SLSC, NSW
Jenny Kenny has continuously volunteered her service to Surf Life Saving at a national, State and club level for nearly 40 years.
Jenny was one of the first females to gain her Bronze medallion in 1980 when women were formally recognised as proficient surf lifesavers. Jenny’s commitment to the Surf Life Saving movement is evident through her recent decision to re-sit her Bronze medallion.
Jenny has been involved in all aspects of the movement, from being a patrolling member, to a member of the club executive, a trainer and assessor, and within surf sports as both a competitor and official.
Jenny is a trail blazer for the involvement of women in surf lifesaving, firstly in Tasmania and later at a national level.
Jenny has been a leader in many areas both at a state and national level by being the first female Manager of Lifesaving in Tasmania and as a member of the SLSA National Board of Lifesaving.
Jenny’s achievements and contributions to SLS Tasmania have been recognised having been awarded Assessor of the Year, as well as Official of the Year on several occasions. In recognition of her outstanding commitment to SLS in Tasmania, she was awarded Life membership of SLS Tasmania in 2006.
In 2013 Jenny joined both the Queensland Officials Board and the NSW Far North Coast Branch Officials Board, where she has undertaken numerous roles at local branch and state levels both in NSW and QLD including Area Referee, Deputy Referee and Referee.
Jenny also has an outstanding record of achievement as an official at the Australian Championships with appointments of Chief Judge and Area Referee for – U17, U19 and Open Female areas, as well as Youth Championships Referee.
Peter White, Alexandra Headland SLSC, QLD
Peter’s decorated career of service includes pages upon pages of accomplishments for Surf Life Saving on a local, branch, state and national level.
White co-wrote the membership protection policy for Surf Life Saving Australia.
He contributed to the national coaching syllabus for Lifesaving Competition events, which included the design and development of multimedia training programs for Champion Lifesaver and Patrol Competition. As a coach for Alexandra Headland Surf Lifesaving Club he won 19 national and 34 state Gold Medals as a Surf Rescue coach. Another highlight was travelling to Japan to introduce surf rescue competition.
Between 2010-14 he also developed and implemented training program for Peer Support officers, volunteers and lifegaurds with 78 attendees becoming qualified in this area.
Between 1997-2005 White was the State Youth Development Director and during this time organised and conducted camps. This role and expertise led him to sit on the National Board of Development for five years.
The 63-year-old’s life has truly been dedicated to others, having worked as a trauma counsellor for the Queensland Police Force and was previously the Director of Mental Health for Wide Bay.
John Brennan OAM, Surfers Paradise SLSC, QLD
John’s contribution at Club, Branch and State levels has been distinguished and sustained for over 40 years. His direct contribution within Surf Life Saving Australia has been conspicuous, particularly as a voluntary official, event manager, coach, and team manager.
Over a sustained 30 year period, John is regarded as one of SLSA’s key senior officials who has contributed across all National Surf Sport events including Open, Masters, Youth, IRB, Pool and Special Events including Coolangatta Gold, Ocean Assaults, Warriors on Water, Summer Surf Series and Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Iron series.
He is the only official to have been the Australian Referee for all 4 major Championships (Open, Masters, IRB and Pool). John has represented SLSA on the World stage since 1994 including being appointed the Chief Referee since 2004. As a proficient and active member, he has embraced every aspect of surf lifesaving with enthusiasm and diligence.
Keith Caldwell, Bulli SLSC, NSW
Keith has been actively involved in the surf lifesaving movement for 43 years. Keith is the President (16 years) and sponsorship coordinator (18 years) of Bulli.
As a highly regarded and successful athlete, Keith has also been the driving force behind the Shannon Eckstein Clinic’s hosted by Bulli SLSC for the development of young surf sports athletes from U10-U19. However, it is as a team manager that Keith is considered as one of the best ever.
He has represented Australia, having been in Australian Representative Teams 8 times, touring New Zealand, Japan (twice), France and South Africa. On the last two occasions he was the Manager of the Australian Open Team at Rescue 2012 & 2014.
Ross Wyeth, Southport SLSC, QLD
Ross has 60 years of continuous surf lifesaving service. Ross’s distinguished and conspicuous service is in the area of gear and equipment. He was first appointed as the Gear Steward for the Queensland South Coast Branch in 1966 and has held this position at Branch, State and National level ever since. His contribution to SLSA commenced in 1989 when he was appointed as Australian Championships Gear and Equipment Officer.
He continues in this role today. Further to his responsibility at Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships Ross has also made a sustained, distinguished and conspicuous contribution to SLS professional events such as the Kellogg Series, National Surf League, SLSA Interstate and IRB Championships. He was appointed as Referee of the Australian IRB Championships, a role he filled with distinction for three years between 1993 and 1996.
Ross initiated the ‘Dirty Dozen’ workforce and has contributed to many innovations in gear and equipment.