The Importance of Voting


To all RLSS UK Members,

Please make sure you vote in 2017 to have your say in the future of RLSS UK.

As part of modernising our governance and moving to ‘One Member One Vote’, this is the second year where every RLSS UK member (16-years-old and over) can vote on important matters.

This year we have four vacancies on RLSS UK Trustee Board and have received an unprecedented 15 applications (1 candidate has withdrawn since voting information has gone live so there are now 14 candidates to vote for).

This is your chance to read their profiles and vote for your preferred candidates and have your say on the future Trustees of RLSS UK.

We’re looking for Trustees who:

  • Are passionate about drowning prevention.
  • Possess the essential skills, knowledge and experience required to be an effective charity trustee.
  • Are from a wide range of backgrounds, places and perspectives as we’re keen to have a diverse and inclusive board.
  • Offers one or more of the following specialisms (based on the needs of RLSS UK’s 2017 – 2019 Business Plan): Charity sector and fundraising; Safeguarding; Education sector; Academic research and development; Corporate/business background and acumen; Digital and IT systems.


We are also asking you to vote on four standard resolutions and one special resolution.

Voting opens online on Thursday 1 June and closes on Wednesday 28 June.

The results will be announced on the 1 July at RLSS UK’s AGM and on RLSS UK’s social media shortly after the AGM.

This is your chance to have your say – please do use your vote.



Dawn Whittaker
Chair of trustees
Royal Life Saving Society UK

How to Vote


Information to read before you place your votes

Before you place your votes, have a look at the following information to help inform your voting

Note – You will be given the opportunity to vote on six resolutions (as summarised in the 2017 Notice of AGM).  You will only need to read the associated document (as listed above) if you intend to vote on that matter.

Voting Online


Voting is being administered on RLSS UK’s behalf by the independent Electoral Reform Services (ERS).

 On Thursday 1st June 2017, the ERS will email all RLSS UK individual members (16-years-old and over) with a ERS weblink and prepopulated security code.


Click on the ERS web link and place your votes.

You can vote online anytime between Thursday 1st June and Wednesday 28th June.

If you have any questions on the voting process, please email [email protected] or call Nicola Rees on 0300 3230 096.

Branches/ Clubs:

RLSS UK posted the Notice of AGM to members with the Summer 2017 Lifesavers Magazine (hit doorsteps mid-May 2017).

RLSS UK will not be posting Voting Packs to members in 2017. If you know of anybody that wants to vote and isn’t online with an email address, please contact Nicola Rees (contact details above) and Nicola can make alternative voting arrangements.

Information on the voting process


When you click through to the ERS website, you will be given the opportunity to vote on six resolutions (as summarized in the 2017 Notice of AGM).

On resolutions (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6), you will be given the option of ‘For’, ‘Against’, ‘Discretionary’ or ‘Abstain’.  ‘Discretionary’ means you are giving your vote to the Chair to use as she thinks fit.

On resolution (5), you will be asked to select your preferred Trustee candidates and rank these applicants in terms of preference (‘1’ for your most preferred, ‘2’ for your second most preferred, and so on). You can select and rank as many Trustee applicants as you choose. Your votes will be handled under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of election.

The RLSS UK Trustees voted to adopt the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of election as it reflects a much fairer representation of members’ views. An explanation of how the STV system operates can be found in the ERS STV leaflet and following video:

Trustee Candidates

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order (based on their first name)

Cavell Burchell

Cavell Burchell

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

RLSS UK is an organisation I understand and during a long and successful involvement, I have demonstrated passion and commitment to its aims. My personal and employment profile describes me as an influential and inclusive leader; proven Board level influencer; engaging and clear communicator; driven by quality and integrity; inquisitive, analytical and decisive.

The national and branch offices I have previously been elected to within RLSS UK (including as Chair of 2 National Committees and Branch Chairman) enabled me to influence in a positive way the development of the Society.

My current appointment as Governance Advisor completes its term of office this year but I wish to continue to be engaged in monitoring the implementation of the recent changes to the infrastructure and analysing the impact of these over time.

I have confidence in and support the vision set out in the Annual Report and Business Plan and, whilst the objectives identified are aspirational they are also achievable. As a member of a Branch Management Committee I am aware of grassroots expectations and needs and this informs my work.

I have achieved many, but not yet all, of the goals that I set myself within lifesaving and wish to continue to contribute to the evolution and expansion of RLSS UK.  As your Trustee I would  endeavour to:

  • Help identify and implement strategies to engage our recently expanded membership base;
  • Expand the diversity within our membership to reflect the communities that we serve.

Thank you for your consideration.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

Drawing upon many years voluntary sector experience in lifesaving and  scouting, combined with senior professional experience in education (as  Assistant Headteacher of a large secondary school), I have accumulated skills, experience and knowledge that enables me to effectively function as a Trustee viz:

  • understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of Trusteeship, adhering to Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
  • strategic and forward looking vision in relation to our objects and aims.
  • good, independent judgement and the ability to think creatively in the context of the organisation and external environment.
  • good listening, communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to respect the confidences of colleagues.
  • balancing tact and diplomacy with willingness to challenge and constructively criticise.

I have relevant experience in a number of the specialisms required to support the 2017-2020 Business Plan:

  • I have successfully prepared grant bids for work and scouting (biggest return being £25,ooo);
  • I have undertaken academic research for my professional qualifications and plan to undertake an analysis of drowning statistics in order to attain the RLSS Diploma Award;
  • Through my employment I have had management of the strategic development of IT systems and oversight of HR.

I am conscious of the level of commitment needed to fulfil the role and, as my employment contract outside lifesaving moves to being part-time I believe I have the capacity to fully engage in the role of a volunteer Trustee.

Declaration of Interests*

  • RLSS Kent Branch Hon. Treasurer -current
  • June 2012 to Feb 2017: Trustee of Bexley District Scout Council

Debbie Hunt

Debbie Hunt

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I have been a Trustee for the past three years and firmly believe that I am just starting to make a difference. I have willingly taken the lead for Safeguarding and with the introduction of our new policy at this year’s conference I would like to use the next three years to ensure that it is rolled out to all, so that you, our members, feel well briefed, trained and supported when delivering our Drowning Prevention message.

I am and will continue to be a strong voice for our dedicated and hardworking volunteers, ensuring that their needs are considered in every decision made, along with the commercial needs of the organisation.

As an international referee, I am vocal in the need for us to use Lifesaving sport as an avenue to communicate our messages.   As well as utilising the opportunities Lifesaving sport offers, to attract young people to join us in the fight to prevent drownings. Additionally, as a regular open water swimmer, I am well placed to assist and advice the Society in its progression within this area.

If you want a strong voice that is used to influence and guide the Society for the benefits of all our members, then please consider voting for me.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I am a former Police Officer and spent over 18 years working in the field of child and vulnerable adult protection. After becoming a Trustee, I received training from the NSPCC for Safeguarding Leads and combined with my previous experience I feel fully qualified to lead the Society in this area for another three years.

I currently work for UK Anti-doping as a member of their Doping Control Team. I have used this knowledge to push for our National Championships to be recognised by the ILS for world records.

I am an international referee and have been appointed to officiate at the last five World Championships. For the last three Championships I have been appointed Competitor Liaison, a role only given to Officials with a sound knowledge of the rules and requirements of the Championships. This experience will help me to push for Lifesaving Sport to have a more prominent role in our Drowning Prevention work.

Having been the Chairman of Kent Branch for six years and a member of the Branch committee for over 30 years. I have a full understanding of the issues and problems experienced by volunteers, members and branches and will use this experience if re-elected as a Trustee.

Declaration of Interests*

  • I work for UKAD
  • Daughter is Secretary of Northern Branch
  • Family are members of RLSS UK

Emma Davids

Emma Davids

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

Based in Yorkshire, I am the IT Programme Manager at Leeds Beckett University and a leading volunteer at Bingley Life Saving Club. I’m married to Duncan and we have a young son.

I started with BLSC when I became an IT Graduate Trainee at Yorkshire Water, predominantly to meet new people – though I was quickly bitten by the lifesaving bug! I soon found myself training to complete my NPLQ, supporting the Club’s activities and organisation and also taking on the Secretary’s role of the Bradford & Airedale Branch.

I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee because I fundamentally believe in our goals and have the abilities, experience, energy and enthusiasm to do so effectively.

Please vote for me: I am passionate about Lifesaving, and feel the time is right to contribute my skills at a national level. Having developed my professional career in IT over the last 15 years, in both the public and private sectors, I have held various senior management positions. I have been active in volunteer lifesaving roles at club and branch level in the North for over 10 years; and I have the time needed to commit to a Trustee role.

I believe my skills and knowledge of Digital and IT systems and data protection would be an asset to the Trustees. I also have extensive and recent experience of corporate risk management, performance management and successful project deliveries involving multi million pound budgets, along with fundraising, which I am keen to contribute towards.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

Having studied at Manchester University, I have a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science, which I have used as a solid foundation upon which to build my IT career. I keep up with the latest technological innovations, through work and related training; and through my involvement in the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, of which I hold MBCS status professionally. I have only recently stepped down as West Yorkshire Branch Chair after 3 years. In this time, I led the branch to organise professional development events and supported local membership. I can help the board of Trustees to shape IT systems and processes that will make engagement with clubs and individual volunteers better.

In my current role at Leeds Beckett University I lead a team of Project Managers, Business Analysts and Project Support Officers. I’m PRINCE2 Practitioner qualified and have undertaken professional development in leadership & management skills throughout my career. This means I’m experienced in change management and challenging the status quo.

My corporate experiences extend from working in very small private companies to large corporate organisations, and more recently in the public sector through Leeds Beckett University.

My charitable and fundraising experiences are predominantly through the RLSS UK and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, serving in various volunteer roles for both organisations for over 10 years. I can bring to the Board my appreciation of what it’s like to be a volunteer and the reality of challenges that poses to delivering drowning prevention awareness locally.

Declaration of Interests*

  • I am a NPLQ holder and use this on a volunteer basis at the club.
  • I am a member & volunteer Lifesaving Trainer/Assessor at Bingley Life Saving Club.
  • I am currently Secretary of the Bradford and Airedale branch (though I’m trying to step down from this at the AGM scheduled for 21 June 2017).
  • I am on the local branch committee for BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (having recently stepped down as branch chair).
  • I work at Leeds Beckett University.
  • I am on the Project & Change Management Group’s Committee which is a subset of UCISA (Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association) which I contribute to as part of my employment at Leeds Beckett.
  • I am booked onto a Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessor course in early June which I will use on a volunteer basis to support the running of Bingley Life Saving Club and our local Branch.

Gillian Barclay

Gillian Barclay

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I lost my 18 year old son Cameron Lancaster in a tragic accident in a quarry in 2014.  Ten months later a second 18 year old boy also drowned in the same quarry.  The shock of Cameron’s death will never leave me, nor will watching his siblings and friend group struggle to make sense of a world without him.  I know that this terrible loss and grief happens to families all around the world when a loved one drowns.  I passionately believe that all drowning is preventable and that much can be done to prevent further deaths.

The second drowning in the quarry stunned me into taking a public role in speaking out about the dangers of taking risks near open water.  I take part in a multi-agency team  delivering water safety education to secondary school children, and have learnt much about water safety.  The Fife Water Safety initiative won the 2016 Safer Communities People’s Choice Award in Scotland, in recognition of the important messages given to young people about keeping themselves safe near water.

Having committed to drowning prevention wholeheartedly I asked to be a family representative on the Scottish Water Safety Forum and I have played an active role in drafting the Scottish draft Response to the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy.  As a senior civil servant I have many years’ experience of coordinating policy and strategy documents and hope my input was constructive and helpful.  I continue to try to influence Scottish Government colleagues to prioritise drowning prevention.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I have been a civil servant for seventeen years, prior to that I worked as an analyst in both the private and public sectors.  My first ten years in the public sector were as a researcher/ statistician, delivering research, data and analysis to local and central government.  I was part of the a Taskforce which developed the Scottish National Index of Multiple Deprivation – a GIS based system which maps factors affecting deprivation to ward level.  I am very keen on supporting improvements to the WAID data set and how it is accessed by all agencies working to prevent water related harm, specifically in the geographic assessment of risk.  I feel there is much more that can be done to estimate the financial costs of water related incidents which could be powerful in arguing for more preventative action.

For the past thirteen years I have managed various policy areas for Scottish Ministers and have a very good understanding of how to influence national and local policy decisions.  I manage significant grant funding, and my role in assessing and awarding grants has given me great insight into how to apply for funding, a skill I used to great success as Treasurer then Secretary of my sailing club.

Finally, my experience in developing and delivering the Fife Water Safety Education package in a way that is sustainable and effective has given me further insight to the multiple complexities and pressures of the Education sector.

Declaration of Interests*

The only areas where I may potentially have a conflict of interest is if there are any discussions or decisions to be made that concern Scottish Ministers.  My role as a civil servant requires that I do not take part in any debates or decisions which are in conflict with Scottish Ministers key objectives and aims.  I doubt that this will ever be the case at the RLSS.

Helen Meckiffe

Helen Meckiffe

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I have been a member of the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) for the past 15 years and am now looking for an opportunity to use my expertise to support the organisation. I have been a Manager within the Leisure industry for the past 10 years and have a range of experience including workforce development, policy writing, financial planning, change management, training and commercial delivery.

I understand the challenges faced by Lifeguards and Operators to maintain and deliver high standards of water safety within the pressures of the industry. I believe in the importance of educating users in water safety so that the risk of drowning is reduced.

My appreciation of risks associated with water also stretches beyond the poolside.  I am well aware of the recurrent news stories surrounding open water and domestic drownings. I am a keen supporter of the RLSS targeted campaigns and feel that through team work the profile of drowning prevention can continue to be increased.

My personal motivation for applying for the role of Trustee is to further promote the core values of the organisation, provide a perspective from my professional viewpoint and develop a greater awareness of the society’s role, culture and concept, in order to exploit its strengths and promote the fantastic work which goes on around the country. I strongly believe the RLSS should be the ‘go to organisation’ for advice, support and development surrounding water safety issues.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I have a degree in Psychology and am keen to further apply my research and development (R&D) skills to understanding and promoting drowning prevention strategies. I believe my experience with R&D methodology and analysis could ensure efficient use of resources, and disclosure of key information to support promotional messages associated with drowning prevention.

I began my career in the Leisure industry as a Lifeguard and effectively worked my way up and through the business to my current role as a Contract Manager. I fully understand the challenges and opportunities Lifeguards are exposed to, and believe I can provide a unique insight into how to develop one of the key professional workforces associated with drowning prevention. My current role also exposes me to industry trends, incidents and good practice. I feel this will be of benefit in an advisory context when planning the review and implementation of policies and procedures. Within my current role I am also commercially driven and seek to deliver a strong financial return on all projects I am involved in. I understand business needs and how these need to be continually weighed up against the delivery of proposals.

I have managed a workforce of 60+ Trainer Assessors through a period of cultural change, following a drowning incident. I therefore understand the necessity of high standards, consistency and promoting positivity to influence change. I have also worked abroad as a Trainer Assessor and thus noted and overcome challenges in delivering water safety messages within specific confines.

Declaration of Interests*

  • I work for a Leisure Operator (Places for People Leisure).
  • I voluntarily promote the company Poolview by appearing in their marketing and educational material.
  • I voluntarily promote IQL by appearing in their marketing and qualification resources.

I strongly believe that the above situations will not impact upon my role as Trustee to make honest and fair decisions.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

Over the last 20 years I have been heavily involved in Water Safety helping those affected by flooding! Having now retired from the Fire Service I would like an opportunity to continue helping others and I believe that by joining the Charity it would allow me to achieve this.

I believe I can play a part in assisting the Board of Trustees to deliver the appropriate level of good governance and offer some of my skills and knowledge where appropriate.

Having operated previously as a CEO of a small charity and as a Trustee as well I fully understand the importance of the Strategic Role in a Charity and how important it is that Trustees focus on helping to ensure issues such as Legal Compliance, Financial Prudence, Charity Commission Rules and Company Law etc. are adhered to and that any budget commitments are appropriate and give a good return on investment.

I also equally recognise the importance of allowing Officers to carry out the day to day operation of the Charity with the Board has a dual role of support and scrutiny.

Charities are now more than ever subject to increased public and press attention and I fully understand the requirement for any Board of Trustees to question and understand what is in the reports presented at meetings so that it can satisfy itself that any donations, any gifts, any sponsorship money given to the Charity is used to deliver the best outcome for the greatest number of people possible

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

During my working career, I have developed many transferable skills including risk, safety and business management skills I firmly believe that my knowledge, background and understanding would enable me to make a valuable contribution to the Board of Trustees and the Charity.

I have operated at the highest level within a Charity which allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding regarding the challenges of effective fundraising and barriers and hurdles charities face.

I believe my strengths lie in my drive and determination at completing any task I start, but I also recognise and advocate partnership working and would highlight the great partnerships I helped to develop involving many different organisations such as Police and Fire together with Voluntary sector this helped launch the Wales Inland Flood & Water Rescue Group Forward Work Programme 2014 and Beyond

Over the years, I have been involved in schemes and programmes aiming try and educate, inform and hopefully change behaviours. I have been involved in and delivered a wide range of programmes covering areas such as assisting DoE Schemes and road safety education for Young Adults through to schools, Cubs and Scouts, Cadets and Young Farmers. I have helped deliver wider education programmes around Fire and General Safety which has allowed me to develop a wealth of experience when it comes to helping children and adults better understand hidden dangers and what they can do to can keep themselves and their family safe and how they can assist others who may need help.

Declaration of Interests*

The only potential conflict of interest that I can identify is that I carry out occasional voluntary work for the Fire Fighters Charity and act as a Home Visitor – occasionally there may be a need to carry out a home visit which might clash with a meeting or event but this is possible but unlikely. I have no other known conflicts.

Jim Hawkins

Jim Hawkins

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I have experience within the Leisure industry for over 10 years and have extensive knowledge of the Industry, with experience in running multiple sites, water parks, sports centres, mixed wet & dry facilities, holiday parks and beaches.

I studied Business Management at University where I broadened my knowledge of the business sector with my modules in Finance, E-commerce, Marketing, Management, Strategic Management, Company Law as well as my Dissertation on Ethics. 

I am Friendly, hard-working and enthusiastic which makes me approachable in all aspects of situations, where I will try to pass on my knowledge as well as my experience to those who need it within the team that I am working within. From this aspect, I have gained valuable insights into how to lead teams, individual people as well as others that are not within my direct supervision chain, but have come to me for guidance and inspiration. As well as these attributes, I am passionate about the cause for the RLSS UK, notably its drowning prevention and every year I partake my company in raising awareness for the drowning prevention week. I am a strong believer that nobody should feel the loss of someone drowning, and if I am able to help that tragedy become less feasible, even by 0.01%, then I will do so.

With these aspects being brought together, I feel that I can give good, reliable and intense debate to what the industry is offering today, since I am involved heavily within my daily life.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

My specialist skill set is a rare one, in that I have worked for some of the largest Leisure providers in the UK. In turn, this has given me valuable experience of working at the ‘front end’ of the leisure industry, one that I can safely say is getting better and better by the year, due to more integrity and ambition being shown by the leading drowning prevention society in the RLSS UK.

Safeguarding – not only is this a key aspect in the teaching of NPLQ, etc for a Trainer Assessor, and therefore essential to know and deliver to all aspiring candidates, but also an integral part of my day-to-day running of my current job role, as Operations Manager of School. We are extremely strict on safeguarding, whether that be vulnerable adults, children or families alike, it is something that I have had to deal with on a daily basis, especially when recruiting.

Educational Sector: The ‘Educational sector’ is the sector that I am currently working in, and therefore am able to give a comprehensive and 1st hand view on this area.

Corporate / business background and acumen – As well as the above, I am able to proactively help within the corporate/business background and acumen. Here, I can point my hand to a BA (HONS) Degree in Business Management as well as multiple qualifications that have helped me create my career within the Leisure industry.

Declaration of Interests*

I believe I do have a conflict of interest after reading conflicts of interest policy in that;

  • Personal income from RLSS UK activity (as I am a trainer Assessor)

Mark Jones

Mark Jones

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I have worked at Club, Branch and National Level now for 30 years. I have been following the progress made in sport over the last few years, having recently got involved in sport, I would like to see the same level of support provided to clubs and volunteers within the society.

The grass-roots of the society is an area I feel has not had the support it deserves. I would like to see volunteers recognised for the work they do, which I believe is underappreciated in the current system. I don’t believe the current honours system fully recognises all our volunteers hard work and would like to see developments within this area, to modernise the process, so that all volunteers are recognised such as with the William Henry points system

I would like to see events such as Survive and Save camp become a regular feature and provide a greater access to the Survive and Save Open Water Awards.

My passion is the societies role in lifeguarding and rescue and would like to see it became the lead organisation in all environments not just pool, but beach and open water settings aswell, with greater opportunities and skills crossing over, making it easier to be a lifeguard in all domains while finding routes for the volunteer lifeguard

I believe I can bring the views of the everyday member and combine them with my experiences across education and business areas to provide a spectrum view on all the work of the society

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I have a range of skills that cover all the specialisms in the pack but I am not an expert of any them. What I can do is bring a good level of knowledge across then all and apply them to a variety of situations.

In the area of charities, I have worked within the Sea Cadets Corps and the Red Cross as well as my own RLSS Club gaining an understanding of the requirements placed on charities and the need to fundraise for its continued survival.

For Safeguarding I have completed training up to Club Welfare Officer (Time to Listen Course) across several agencies.

Within Education, I originally did trained in secondary school education. I am now a trainer within my work environment training adults and I am a Parent Governor for a primary school, sitting on the curriculum subcommittee.

In my professional business dealings, I work with end users and high level officials in the MOD and NATO while managing multi-million pound contracts and budgets.

I have a background in IT Systems going back 15 years of field engineering and software testing.

Declaration of Interests*

  • Ely Rookies – Club Member and Club Officer
  • Branch – Chairman
  • Everyone Active – Lifeguard (paid)
  • BCU Instructor with interest in Canoe Lifeguards
  • BSAC Instructor with interest in Diver Rescue Specialism which includes Lifesaver and Advanced Lifesaver

Penney Wilkinson

Penney Wilkinson

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I would like to stand for election as a Trustee for RLSS UK as I feel I have the passion and the necessary experience to be able to offer myself for this role.

Over the years, I have gained a lot of experience as a member and officer of my local Club, South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club, and also within the Northumberland and Durham Branch, where I have served in various roles. (Membership, Competition, Lifeguard Officer, Secretary and Chair) and so fully understand the commitment and dedication required for this role with my understanding of the governing and reporting procedures.

Recently I have been involved with my local community centre, which was required to become self-sustainable and gain charitable status.  This required negotiating with the local authority over a period of time to obtain a satisfactory lease to be able to move forward. I have thrown myself into this in order to project the home of my club and other community organisations that use the centre.

The campaign involved talking to the local press, radio and television.

It would be an honour to be elected to serve in this position and I will do my best for RLSS UK to promote the aims and objectives of the Society and work with others to move forwards.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I have been actively involved with RLSS UK all my life, qualifying at the age of 11yrs with the Elementary Certificate, eventually gaining the Distinction Award.  I am a founder member of SSVLG and have become a Life Saving, Pool, and Beach Trainer Assessor, and regularly deliver Pool, Beach and NRASTC courses to members, local swimming clubs, the local authority and those who wish to gain employment. I still hold the NPLQ award and regularly Mentor newly qualified Beach TA’s.

During my working life as a Swimming Teacher, I was able to teach Primary school children Rookie skills, and was invited into schools to deliver water safety talks.  I was employed by the Local Authority as School Pools, and Foreshore Officer, and was responsible for the delivery and organisation of school swimming in the borough as well as promoting and organising a Swim School. As Foreshore Officer, I was responsible for the recruitment, training and delivery of the Beach Lifeguard Service, which operated throughout the summer season. I also made connections with a number of organisations in the North East area regarding beach and water safety.

Since my retirement I have been able to devote more time to assist the Branch in the delivery of Community Awards, and water safety to Schools in Durham.  Currently I am assisting with the Phoenix Program in Sunderland with the Fire and Rescue Service to disadvantaged children. I have also been a keen volunteer at Brinkburn CA as a trustee to the CIO.

Declaration of Interests*

I don’t believe I have any conflicts of interest that would affect my role as a trustee should I be successful in my application.

Sheena Harper

Sheena Harper

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I am as passionate about The Royal Life Saving Society as I was when 12, sitting my first Bronze Medallion over 40 years ago at the Belfast School of Life Saving.  Over the years I have seen many changes within the Society and believe that I now have both the time and the experience to be able to help to steer the Society in the future.

Since those days when I first sat my bronze medallion I have completed most of the lifesaving awards prior to the introduction of Survive and Save including the Distinction.  I have taken forward my support for the Society as a mentor and trainer/assessor passing on my practical skills.  Alongside this I have taken on other roles at all levels. I am a National Judge, Chair of the Scottish Eastern Branch and have been a member of a regional sports and youth groups while leading the education group. I served 2 terms on the National Communication Standing Committee before moving on to lead for the Alcohol Awareness Project Group which resulted in the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign. I have recently been appointed to the Sports Governance Group where I am the lead for the officials strand.

I attend the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Accident Prevention and Safety Awareness.  This has given me the experience of networking with other likeminded organisations.

My experience makes me an ideal candidate to be a trustee of the Society and I would be honoured to serve it.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

The Society is looking for a Trustee with a Specialism in education. I am currently a primary school teacher.  To be an effective teacher I have to demonstrate excellent communication, planning and assessing skills.  I am responsible for managing both adults and children within my classroom and undertaking development work within the school.  I have, in a previous life undertaken science academic research and am currently undertaking a Masters in education at the University of Glasgow.  This course includes investigating and honing my leadership and management skills, developing an understanding of how people work in groups and the roles they take within these groups.  These skills have been useful in my career and would benefit me if I were elected as a trustee.

Attending the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Accident Prevention and Safety Awareness has given me the opportunity to network with other likeminded organisations and to share good practice.  It is through this group that I have gained understanding of how my education background can be applied to strategic decision-making, similar to the work of the Trustees. Working with our Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator and a colleague I have produced material for the Scottish Learning Festival where we have raised the profile of the Society within the education forum in Scotland.  These skills, although honed in Scotland, are applicable to all areas of the UK.  I have an understanding of curricula used around the UK and can relate our resources to the needs of educators.

Declaration of Interests*

  • Son – Chris Harper is a current Trustee of the Society (term of office completed this year)
  • Chair of Scottish Eastern Branch
  • Officiating lead RLSS UK Sports Governance Group
  • Education and Officiating lead of RLSS UK Scottish Region
  • Member of youth group for RLSS UK Scottish Region
  • Secretary of Penicuik Community First Responders

Stephanie Andrews

Stephanie Andrews

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

My reason for making this application is my passionate belief that our Branches, Clubs and Regions should be supported in their task of delivering the RLSS Drowning Prevention message.

My involvement in the Society for over 40 years, my experience, and my close involvement with lifesaving at Club/Branch level, firstly with Surrey and now Wessex, fully equips me for this role. This is matched by my enthusiasm and the time I now have available to devote to this challenge.

As a recent Trustee of RLSS UK, I understand the organisation and I am supportive of the business plan.

I would welcome the opportunity to help develop the Society’s infrastructure with the move to new premises and create a society fit for the future. I have the ability to work effectively on my own and as part of a team, as well as with members of all ages and backgrounds. An independently minded and strongly motivated worker, I pride myself on being a reliable and approachable, so any commitments or obligations that come my way will be fulfilled to the best of my ability.

I am a committed volunteer and have worked with lifesavers both in the UK and around the World through my involvement with International lifesaving.

I would like the opportunity, and the support of members, to help develop the Society into the number ONE Drowning Prevention Organization over the next three years.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

As a volunteer and as a professional, my work has encompassed every aspect of the RLSS, from Water Safety education in junior schools, training Rookies to developing new Instructors at the top end of my club. I am an active Trainer & Assessor and Instructor tutor, but also feel it is important to keep in touch with the “grass-roots” and enjoy working on the poolside and by open water. I have been involved in many RLSS initiatives – Drowning Prevention Week, Baby Safe road shows; Community Life Support; events during the Centenary year, more recently the 125 celebrations, numerous courses within Surrey/Wessex Branch and Nationally, as a Lifesaving Sport tutor.

I regularly volunteer as an Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions and also as an Official for the ASA. These roles give me an insight into different organisations and their structure.

Prior to retiring, I was a PE/ICT teacher in a large Surrey comprehensive school.  For 5 years, I was SSCo working with Junior Schools, local clubs and various outside agencies to increase the amount of sporting activity for Young People.  This role showed me the importance of working in a Partnership and to value the input of volunteers at every level. My knowledge and understanding of the Education system and IT brings a valuable resource to the Board.

Declaration of Interests*

  • Active RLSS UK Trainer & Assessor and Instructor tutor (voluntary)
  • Wessex Branch Secretary
  • Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions (voluntary)
  • Official for the ASA (voluntary)

Steve Carter

Steve Carter

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

I have been employed in the leisure industry for the last 20 years and over this time I have gained the skills and knowledge as an NTA to deliver many RLSS UK vocational and non-vocational awards. As a Leisure Centre Manager, I have extensive understanding of commercial activity and budgets/financial control.

In 2012 I became Chairman of the Shropshire Branch. I have overseen a rejuvenation in activity and proactively forged relationships with the local authority and other stakeholders/partners. This has enabled the volunteers to deliver more lifesaving messages to the public than ever before.

Community outreach is vital to the delivery of RLSS UK messages. Drowning Prevention Week, local school initiatives, Crucial Crew, Shrewsbury River Festival and Ironbridge River Festival are just a few examples of how we have engaged with the community in Shropshire. In the past year, over 2000 year 6 children from over 50 schools in Telford & Wrekin have taken part in our water safety activity sessions.

I am passionate about reinforcing the positioning of RLSS UK as the go-to organisation for drowning prevention advice in the UK. This heightened profile will inevitably result in the Society achieving its goal of reducing the loss of life due to accidental drowning.

My commitment and dedication to the Society allied to my extensive understanding of the Leisure Industry will ensure a positive and valuable contribution to the Board of Trustees.

I very much look forward to the opportunity of taking on this exciting and challenging role!

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

I have been employed by Telford & Wrekin Council since 1997 and during this time I have gained substantial experience working across a number of leisure sites. Starting as a Casual Lifeguard in 1997, becoming contracted in 1999 as a Senior Leisure Assistant and through career progression to Duty Officer, NPLQ Trainer Assessor/Duty Manager, Assistant Manager and becoming Site Manager in 2008. February 2015 I lead on the forming of Telford & Wrekin Training Services delivering a variety of training, my job role now is Training Specialist and Duty Officer for Safeguarding. I have experience of Quality Assurance through the Quest Accreditation Scheme.

Rookie and Survive and Save is delivered as part of our Learn to Swim Programme for which I deliver training to the instructors. Each summer delivering water safety messages to around 2000 year 6 school children.

In 2009 I became the IQL Centre Co-Ordinator. Responsible for the NPLQ training across 4 Leisure Centres by organising, planning training sessions. Since March 2015 I have delivered First Aid training to over 400 employees of TWC and external organisations. In 2015 I was awarded the IQL Trainer Assessor of the Year. Developing my skills to be confident in the delivery of presentations and practical sessions, supporting of candidates and being able to work to the strengths of the learners. As an RLSS UK National Trainer Assessor I support new TA’s through their probationary period of organising a new candidate NPLQ course, presenting for assessment and the assessing of candidates.

Declaration of Interests*

  • Chairman of the RLSS UK Shropshire Branch.
  • Train RLSS UK Qualifications in my Training Specialist role as a Local Authority Employee.
  • STA Pool Plant Tutor.

Steve Jackson

Steve Jackson

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

Having worked in swimming pools in various roles for the last 20 years I have always been a member of RLSS UK.  I have a personal passion for drowning prevention that I am lucky enough to be able to combine with my career.

The aim of the charity is clear ‘to reduce drownings and the impact of drownings in the community across the UK and Ireland’.  I feel I can support this strategic direction by working in partnership with both the other trustees and management team.

I fully support the current business plan to continue to build a sustainable future and continuing to educate communities through the establish networks, as well as creating new ones.  The plan uses various means to deliver to a wide range of people and organisations.

I believe drowning prevention is not about staying out of open water, instead it is about understanding the dangers and knowing how to enjoy open water safely.  The development of various key campaigns over the last few years has given a fresh approach to targeting different at risk groups.   Therefore it is important to ensure that the branches and other local delivery groups have the resources and support to grow these campaigns in a relevant way to their communities.

It would be a privilege to have the opportunity to be involved in supporting the strategic direction of the RLSS UK and working alongside the skilled and motivated workforce and volunteers to help deliver their ambitions up to 2020 and beyond.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

My whole career has been in swimming pools.  For the last 18 I have been involved in Northamptonshire’s school swimming program which I have managed for the last 12 years.  During this time I have gained an understanding of the pressures schools have to deliver the compulsory elements of the curriculum.

I have experience in working with schools, I will actively look at ways of engaging schools in drowning prevention education that will ‘tick boxes’ in other areas of the curriculum.  This also involves supporting teachers (and trainee teachers) in an area of the curriculum they are often unsure about.  All the time aiming to make things sustainable.

I have a great understanding of various RLSS qualifications and programs having delivered both in the pool and open water.  Every year I actively support RLSS campaigns within Northamptonshire and have developed partnerships that help to raise the profile of the charity.

I have an understanding of working at a strategic level through my job and my role as vice chair of governors at a local school and can appreciate some of the challenges that maybe faced and appreciate the need to be planning for the future.  Working with the management team not against them and being able to constructively challenge them for the benefit of the organisation.

I would welcome the opportunity to be able to work even more closely with the team at RLSS UK and the volunteers across the country to reduce the number of accidental drownings.

Declaration of Interests*

I am an RLSS UK Pool TA and deliver NPLQ (training and assessment), NRASTC, NWSMP, OWL, Rookie etc.

Suzanne Gabb

Suzanne Gabb

Why I want to become an RLSS UK Trustee and why RLSS UK members should vote for me.

Swimming has always been a part of my life; as a competitive swimmer, water polo player and synchronised swimmer it was a natural fit to begin teaching swimming and lifeguarding at 16.  I fundamentally believe in educating the communities within the UK the importance of water safety.  We have an obligation to children and families to teach as many individuals how to swim safely in all bodies of water.  Swimming is a life-skill and every child deserves the right to learn how to survive in water.  I would like to be a member on the Board Trustees because my passion for water safety coincides with ethos of the charity.  I will work towards lowering the drowning rate within this country and creating higher awareness of swim safety.

I moved to the UK from Vancouver, Canada 5 years ago.  I previously studied Business and Sports Science at Trinity Western University, and have worked within the leisure industry for 16 years.  I have lifeguarded, coached, and managed multiple pools within three Countries (Canada, United States and Australia), with the UK now making it four (I am currently the National Aquatics Manager for Parkwood Leisure).  I hold both common wealth RLSS  and UK RLSS qualifications.

The exposure I had had to multiple different lifesaving skills within these countries has given me a unique insight into the lifesaving world which will add value to help the RLSS reach its goals.

The specialist skills, knowledge and experience that I will bring to the RLSS UK Trustee role and how this will help RLSS UK Trustee Board’s effectiveness.

My greatest asset I would bring to the role of a Trustee is my international experience working as a lifeguard with various lifesaving organisations.  This has given me great insight into best practice and I would aim to help the RLSS achieve its goals at being an international leader amongst the water safety world.

I have a good working knowledge of the education sector having previously  worked as the South West Regional Manager for Fit For Sport. I worked alongside multiple school boroughs and leisure providers to educate children on the importance of getting active.  As part of this role I remained up to date on child safeguarding regulations, EYFS and VCR OFSTED registers.  I understand school funding and their fiscal year and the opportunity for partnership with the RLSS.

I currently work for a large national operator managing 44 pool programmes across England and Wales. I will be able to give good insight into the obstacles facing the industry and how best the RLSS can address these challenges and improve safety.  One of my main KPI’s is to increase interest and participation in swimming.  I would hope to translate the success I’m having in the corporate world into success in promoting the RLSS brand and water safety across the UK.  I work closely with the marketing and operations department to implement successful campaigns which target a variety of audiences.

Declaration of Interests*

I work for a Company that is in partnership with the RLSS UK: My role at Parkwood sits within the Sales department.  My job does not require me to make any decisions that would effect this partnership.  Any financial or contractual commitments between Parkwood and the RLSS UK are decided by the Operational Director and the Board.

Declaration of interests – Guidance for voters*

This section is where applicants are asked to share any personal or wider interest that could influence any future Trustee decision making. This section is to ensure all relevant information is shared with voters and that the voting process is transparent.

Trustees’ personal and professional connection bring benefits to the charity but can lead to conflicts of interest.  Conflicts of interest absolutely do not mean somebody has done something wrong but do need to be managed, for example, the Trustee removes themselves from decision making during a Trustee meeting if a conflict of interest exists.

Identifying, recording and managing conflicts of interest is standard best practice for charities (both during the appointment of Trustees and during Trustee meetings/ decision making). 

Supporting Documents


RLSS UK Trustee Board Overview


RLSS UK is governed by a Board which comprises between 9 and 12 people at any one time. RLSS UK’s Board is currently made up as follows:

  • Chair
  • President
  • Deputy-President
  • Honorary Treasurer
  • Elected Trustees
  • Appointed Trustees


The Board are supported by a Legal Advisor and a Youth Advisor.

The Board’s role is to govern RLSS UK and provide overall strategic direction to achieve its aims. The fundamental responsibility of Trustees is to look after the resources given to RLSS UK by individuals and organisations – ensuring these resources are used effectively to achieve the particular purpose for which they were given.  Whilst Trustees are responsible for governing RLSS UK, operational management is delegated to the Chief Executive.

Information on RLSS UK’s current Trustees can be found here.

Trustees’ main duties


Based on the Charity Commission’s Trustees’ 6 main duties, RLSS UK Trustees’ core duties together are to:

  1. Ensure RLSS UK is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up, and no other purpose.
  2. Comply with RLSS UK’s Articles of Association and the law.
  3. Act in RLSS UK’s best interests.
  4. Manage RLSS UK’s resources responsibly.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill.
  6. Ensure RLSS UK is accountable.


 Trustees have a legal duty and responsibility to act in the best interests of the charity. Interests of the charity are paramount. Trustees should not allow their personal interests or views to override this.

All Trustees share the same core duties irrespective of whether they are appointed or elected. Trustees must act as a group, not as individuals. Trustees make decisions about their charity together, working as a team.

RLSS UK Trustees’ Guiding Principles


RLSS UK is a values-led organisation. The conduct and behaviour of RLSS UK Trustees is paramount as it can significantly impact on people’s perceptions of RLSS UK and RLSS UK’s reputation.

RLSS UK Trustees work to RLSS UK Trustees’ Guiding Principles: 

As trustees of RLSS UK we will demonstrate our commitment and responsibilities to all members, staff and beneficiaries by:

  • Publicly supporting decisions made by the board of trustees,
  • Acting in the best interests of RLSS UK whilst setting aside our personal interests,
  • Being consultative and engaging in our decision making,
  • Respectful of others opinions and challenging in an appropriate way,
  • Being measured in our actions and communications on RLSS UK business.

Key Dates for 2017


Thursday 13 April 2017
Trustee application date opens with Trustee Application Pack and Trustee Application Form

Between Thursday 13 April and Sunday 30 April 2017
Expressions of interest to be emailed to [email protected].  Phone calls between a current RLSS UK Trustee and potential candidates held to make clear governance duties of a Trustee.

Friday 12 May 2017 (midnight)
Trustee Application Form and photo deadline.

Thursday 1 June 2017
‘One Member One Vote’ voting opens online

Wednesday 28 June (midnight)
‘One Member One Vote’ voting closes

Saturday 1 July 2017
RLSS UK’s Annual General Meeting, including voting results and installation of Trustees

July, August, September 2017
Trustee inductions

Saturday 23 September 2017
Trustee board meeting

Saturday 2 December 2017
Trustee board meeting