Surf Life Saving Australia announces six new Life Members
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is pleased to announce six surf lifesaving members who’ve been awarded with SLSA’s most prestigious honour of Life Membership.
SLSA Life Membership is given to members who go above and beyond in their duties and responsibilities in Surf Life Saving (SLS), and who have shown distinguished voluntary service to the movement over a sustained period of at least 20 years.
SLSA would like to congratulate John Baker ESM (Brighton SLSC, SA), Michael Bate (Freshwater and Fairy Meadow SLSC, NSW), Don Marsh (Carlton Park SLSC, TAS), Wayne McLennan (Broadbeach SLSC, QLD), John Mills OAM (Freshwater SLSC and Coffs Harbor SLSC, NSW), and Alan Seeney (Bondi SBLSC, NSW & Dicky Beach SLSC, QLD), on their well-deserved appointments and for their continued dedication to the movement.
SLSA Board member and Chair of the Honours Committee, Mark Fife OAM, said that he congratulates all six recipients on their incredible dedication throughout their lives to surf lifesaving.
“I would like to congratulate John, Michael, Don, Wayne, John and Alan – the latest six members who have been awarded with SLSA’s highest honour of Life Membership,” he said.
“Their service, dedication and contribution to their clubs, their communities and the surf lifesaving movement is inspiring for all.”
These SLSA Life Members will be formally recognised at a Life Members dinner at the 2022 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
The latest recipients take the overall tally of SLSA Life Members to 309.
John Baker ESM – Brighton SLSC, SA – Cap number 304
John served on the SLSSA Board for a total of 15 years including as State President. In 2011 he restructured the Board to ensure it was strategically focused through the establishment of various committees which delivered better fiscal management and planning. He successfully lobbied the State Government to increase its funding for the Facilities Management Group from $800,000 per annum to $2 million. This has been critical in enabling SLSSA to accelerate their Club rebuild program.
John has been heavily involved with Westpac helicopters both as a crewperson with in excess of 20 years’ service and as part of the National Helicopter Review group that established a more efficient operation for Southern Region Helicopters.
In 2012 John worked with the then President to align the Foundation with SLSA which has resulted in raising substantial additional funds for the States and Territory.
John was appointed Chair of the Youth Review Committee to collect data, review outcomes and introduce a Youth Championships. This has proved to be an outstanding success and was the catalyst for its introduction into the International Life Saving World Championships. As Chairman of the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide, John led a team which delivered the largest Championships to that point anywhere in the world with over 7,000 competitors from 45 nations.
John is currently the longest serving Board member on the SLSA Board holding the position of Deputy President and now President. His contribution across State, National and International levels is sustained, distinguished and conspicuous.
Michael Bate – Freshwater SLSC & Fairy Meadow SLSC, NSW – Cap number 305
Michael has 52 years of continuous service to surf lifesaving, using his business and financial acumen in securing a Branch headquarters for the Sydney Northern Beaches. As a result, Sydney Northern Beaches as the first Branch or State in Australia to direct SLSA funds back to Clubs.
As a member of the NSW Executive Board, he was integrally involved in the purchase of the new SLSNSW Headquarters and played a significant role in the successful establishment of a long-term future fund to help protect SLSNSW from financial stress.
Michael is a distinguished Referee who is respected by organisers, officials and competitors. He has led teams in the international competition arena and was highly regarded by team members, international officials as well as opposing teams.
Michael has made a prominent, notable and outstanding commitment through various roles at Club, Branch, State and National levels that has distinguished him from others.
Donald Marsh – Carlton Park SLSC, TAS – Cap number 306
Don has been a distinguished, significant and sustained contributor to SLSA at all levels. He is as an outstanding lifesaver, competitor, coach, administrator, strategic thinker and contributor to both Tasmania and Surf Life Saving Australia.
At the State level Don has served on various Boards and Committees for over 20 years with roles including being a Director since 2007.
As an SLSA accredited coach and coach mentor, Don has been instrumental in establishing programs in Tasmania to assist many athletes and fellow coaches to achieve their potential in surf lifesaving competition. Don has coached Tasmanian State Teams and Kellogg National Surf League teams. He represented SLSA in India and was seconded as assistant coach the Indian team at the Life Saving World Championships in France.
Don’s National roles have included being a member of the Board of Competition, Board of Surf Sports, Selector for the SLSA Awards of Excellence, and being on the Working Group for reintroduction of the Coolangatta Gold.
Each of Don’s contributions have been undertaken with distinction and commitment and have significantly benefited SLSA over a sustained period of time.
Wayne McLennan – Broadbeach SLSC – QLD – Cap number 307
Wayne ‘Rabbit’ McLennan joined surf lifesaving in 1960 and obtained his Bronze Medallion in 1962. He has been an active member ever since taking on every position within the Club from Patrol member to President.
Wayne’s service to the South Coast and North Queensland branches since 1964 has been distinguished, significant and sustained. He has held a variety of Branch Executive and Management committee positions over the decades.
There are many ‘firsts’ in Wayne’s service to SLSQ. First to be involved in a helicopter service, first to be involved in trailing the rigid hull IRBs, production of the first ‘blue book’ (now the Public Safety Aquatic Rescue manual) and inaugural member of the ‘Dirty Dozen’.
Wayne has made a truly sustained and conspicuous contribution to the development of Surf Sports and Lifesaving at both the State and National levels.
John Mills OAM – Freshwater SLSC & Coffs Harbour SLSC, NSW – Cap number 308
John is one of Australia’s longest serving and most successful surf sports coaches.
He has had an unbroken level of commitment to the Surf Life Saving movement, actively competing at the highest level for 20 years and has excelled as a coach at the highest levels for some 60 years, all on a voluntary basis. His record is truly outstanding and remarkable.
Countless competitors have benefited from his extensive knowledge, versatility, enthusiasm and experience over multiple disciplines. His versatility and innovative ability across disciplines as diverse as R&R, Craft and the art of surf swimming put him in an elite category.
John has made an eminent, respected and notable contribution to the development of surf lifesavers at all levels over half a century that is both significant and influential. His impact has been truly remarkable and described by many as life changing.
Alan Seeney – Bondi SBLSC, NSW & Dicky Beach SLSC, QLD – Cap number 309
Alan joined Bondi LSC as a cadet in 1959 and quickly distinguished himself as a committed lifesaver. As Club Captain Alan reported to three Municipal Councils and was a co-organiser of Branch and State carnivals for numerous years.
Upon moving to Queensland, he joined Southport SLSC where he contributed over a sustained period on the Management Committee. He was at the forefront of jet boat technology and a founding member of the Jet Rescue Service in Queensland in 1971.
Alan was an Advisor on the Board of Examiners and a member of the Queensland Board.
A National level Alan had a sustained contribution as a member of the Appeals Panel and was the Coordinator of the World Titles.