What role you play as a volunteer for RLSS UK?
Probably a facilitator! I teach, coach, compete and train to let others know about the fantastic opportunities that are available within the RLSS UK.

Why did you initially become involved in lifesaving?
I still remember the advert in The Wells Journal I saw as a 12-year-old, calling for new members to save Wells Life Saving Club! The club met at 7.30pm on Monday evenings at the outdoor pool in Wells during the summer months. I seem to remember more cold and wet evenings than warm, sunny ones, but the main trainer was a 19-year old former Bridgwater Lifeguard Corps member who, to me, knew everything about lifesaving which was great.

What is your lifesaving background?
I have come a long way from failing my first Bronze Medallion at Cheddar outdoor pool on a wet, Friday evening!

I stayed with Wells Life Saving Club, tried to keep up and continue lifesaving whilst at University in London and then returned to Wells the day of the club AGM. I have been there ever since, although Wells Life Saving Club now meets in an indoor pool in Street.

My return to Somerset meant I found out about the Branch, the former Bridgwater Lifeguard Corps member was back from a spell in the London Metropolitan Police, and there were some interesting Somerset Branch experiences ahead!

How long have you been volunteering for?
For more than 25 years I have been involved in teaching children and adults lifesaving activities, as a Lifesaving and Pool TA. I currently teach at Wells Lifesaving Club on Thursdays and Sundays. I also coach those involved with Lifesaving Sport, with many competitors reaching the National Lifesaving Championships over the past few years.

I have been an active member of Somerset Branch Committee and the wider West Regional Committee for over 25 years, helping to organise events, training and education to local communities across the region.

More recently I have been involved in planning and running various international exchange programmes and camps to continue to increase the confidence and knowledge of UK lifesavers.

What keeps you motivated to continue to give up your time?
Giving others the opportunity to do things that I didn’t know existed within lifesaving when I was a club member, seeing people enjoying lifesaving and developing confidence through the RLSS UK programmes and hearing about what people I have taught have done that has made a real difference.

What’s in it for you?
The RLSS UK has always had a development pathway for volunteers and some of the training that I have done with them has helped in my non-related professional life.

Who is your inspirational figure?
There are loads of inspirational people who have motivated me and given up their time for me during my time with the RLSS UK and over the years these have included –

At a club level – Nick Gadd – the 19-year old trainer at Wells LS Club.

The late Joan Tilyard from Somerset Branch – had so much enthusiasm for lifesaving from a kid through to her 60s and really believed in giving opportunities to younger Branch members.

Stuart Bailey – one of the first ‘important lifesaving characters’, I first met on a water sports activity course at Calshot. Stuart always has time for people and remembers people for who they are.

I am really grateful to current lifesaving friends including Alan Sutherland and Ellen Moore for ‘putting up with me’.

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