We were recently contact by Faye and Chris Potter from Australia.  They had in their possession one of our wonderful old Certificates  ‘For the knowledge of Rescue, Releasing one’s self from the clutches of the Drowning, also ability to render aid in Resuscitating the Apparently Drowned’ this had been awarded to Chris’s mother (Gertrude May Edwards) in 1924.  Sadly Gertrude had passed away and they wanted to know if we would like the certificate for our archive – which of course we were grateful to receive.  These grand awards come to us from time to time, but what makes this particular one so wonderful is the fact that it has not only been treasured, but it has also travelled far and wide.  It appears where Gertrude went – so did her certificate!

Gertrude was fourteen when she took her Life Saving Certificate.   Later she met and married Bill Potter and in 1957 they made an application to Australia House in London to migrate to Australia.  They were both charged £10.00 for their travel on the condition that they stayed in Australia for 2 years, anyone returning before this time had to pay one thousand pound for their passage, which was a significant amount of money in 1957.  This of course ensured that most that would make the journey would be keen to stay.

In 1959 at the port of Tilbury and on board the RMS Strathaird, the Potter family and Gertrude’s certificate left the UK.  Weather conditions were bad and the white cliffs of Dover were obscured by rain and hail.  However as their journey progressed over the weeks and with each port visited the weather got hotter.  This at least prepared the family for the heat wave to greet them when they landed in Freemantle and Melbourne when they finally arrived in Australia.

 Gertrude always had her award out on display throughout her life.  It was obvious she was very proud of it.  Now many years later it has made the return trip to the UK and has a home once more with us here at The Royal Life Saving Society.

We would like to thank the Potter family for kindly donating Gertrude’s award and for the lovely history behind it.