In December 2022, the RLSS UK community was saddened by the loss of Janet Castro – a dedicated and well-loved member of the society.  

Janet’s involvement with RLSS spanned for decades, within which time she fulfilled many roles from volunteering at events to becoming a trustee for the society. She was particularly passionate about Lifesaving Sport where she officiated competitions in the UK and around the world. 

Her passion for sport began in her career with the City of Glasgow Police, where she was a competitor, team captain and trainer with the force and subsequently became an Official and then Chief Judge for the Police Lifesaving Championships.  

Whilst serving as Convenor of the UK College of Referees, Janet was an instigator of initiative tests which led to the development of the Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC) which is used in many national and international events today. Her passion was fueled by the belief that competing in these tests would ultimately result in better lifeguards and lifesavers. 

Fondly known as ‘Jinty’ within the lifesaving community; Janet’s commitment has been recognised by numerous awards: - She was honoured by RLSS UK with the award of Honorary Vice President, by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) as a Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and by RLSS Commonwealth as an Honorary Life Member. She was also one of only 125 individuals throughout the Commonwealth to receive the Prince Michael of Kent 125 Anniversary Certificate of Merit. 

Jinty’s character was warm, friendly, and enthusiastic, with many of her peers considering her to be their mentor, role model and inspiration. You can read some of their words and anecdotes about Janet below. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this page in her memory. 

Janet Castro in Barra Janet Castro and Marjorie at Cabin

Janet through the eyes of her peers...

“I have known Janet for nearly 40 years via our mutual love of Lifesaving Sport. Janet was a mentor, ambassador, friend and colleague to many people, including me. 

“When I became an official, Janet was by my side at my first World Lifesaving Championships in Berlin. Her kind words, enthusiasm and dedication to the World Lifesaving Competition will never be forgotten.  

“Over 10 years ago, Janet suggested I should stand to be a Trustee and it is thanks to Janet’s persistence and support that I am now the first female President of the RLSS UK. Janet never doubted I could do it and I will always treasure the letter she sent when I was elected. 

“Janet will be sadly missed by all.” 

- Deborah Hunt, President of RLSS UK 

“Her passion and enthusiasm for RLSS UK was felt throughout the UK, the Commonwealth and particularly within the world of lifesaving sport as well as here in Scotland. 

“Her passing will leave a massive gap in the lives of her RLSS family and our community will sorely miss Janet (Jinty). Our love goes to her family and closes friends at this sad time.” 

 - Bryan Finlay & Sheena Harper 

“I can remember being terrified of this larger-than-life lady but she quickly made me feel at ease. Nothing was ever a problem for Janet and when I left to go to university, she remained in touch, ensuring that I was settled into a lifesaving club there. 

“I will remember Janet as someone who (even when less able) was always willing to give her time and go out of her way to make the RLSS UK better whilst remembering that the individual was at the heart.” 

 - Helen Clark 

“Like many people she encouraged my continued involvement in lifesaving and her enthusiasm was ever evident. I am pleased to have known Jinty and proud to have had her as my mentor. She will be missed but her spirit will live on for many years through the many people she influenced during her life. Rest in peace my friend.” 

 - Paul Moore MBE 

“She would talk to my children for hours about lifesaving the world over. She was so inspirational that I credit to her that fact that my children both now work in the leisure industry.” 

 - Denise Patterson

“The first time I met Janet was when I became a member of the sport commission in 1997 and I sat next to her. It was all new to me, but Janet’s friendliness made me feel like I had known her for years. 

“In 2013, the European Championships were held in the Netherlands. The evening before the competitions started, we had an official meeting with speeches, food, and drink at the end of the pier. It was a long walk back to the boulevard where the coaches were waiting so we chartered a golf kart. With Janet in the kart, one of our volunteers drove into the lift and went up and down several times. It was hilarious and everyone laughed...but then the news came that the coach had left without us! Another laugh, and we ended up chartering some cars to get back to the hotel.” 

- Bob Dekkers 

“Janet was warm and caring, interested in you, the person, and through this link, she was able to influence so many people worldwide. She would listen and debate, and you also knew that if you had a debate with Janet, it would sharpen your thinking and understanding of the subject. 

“Janet was influential in persuading me to stand for President of the RLSS UK in 2010. By this time, Janet had forgotten more than I would ever know about activities worldwide. Friends in the ILS (International Life Saving) from Germany, Australia, and Canada all spoke about Janet's clear thinking and energy for making a difference in the global drowning problems we face. In all of that, Janet was truly a local lass who was passionate about RLSS Scotland and volunteering in the community. 

“We will miss her warmth and friendly nature. Hazel and I spent some great times with Janet in her log cabin and with those close to her. We created memories that we will share forever.” 

- Pete Moyes – RLSS UK Trustee 

“Combining her employment with Scottish Office Community Development and her aims of drowning prevention in Scotland; Janet took Scotland West & East Kilbride club members to Barra over three summers to teach lifesaving in the sea. She arranged the building of a pool facility in Barra with locals and by the end of the period they had qualified people to start working there.  

“While all this activity was happening, she was also running courses at summer school in South Wales and Easter schools in Scotland to train new teachers, coaches and improve the competitor standards.”   

 - Ronnie Claudin 

"It was Janet who got myself involved with lifesaving way back in the day. She was totally amazing - so full of passion and energy about lifesaving and getting the word out about how dangerous water can be. I can remember when I first visited the Nationals at Coventry with others from our club and of course Janet was there keeping us all in line! She had arranged to pick up a piece of equipment from another club but it was too large to fit on the bus so she asked us if we could take it on the train instead. So there we were at the station with this large piece of equipment taking two of us to carry and having to ask the driver if there was there was room... who knows what we would have done if he said no, but of course by this time Janet was well on her way back to Scotland with not a care in the world! She was such a lovely person who touched so many people all over the world. She is sadly missed."

- Craig Murray

“She was a force to be reckoned with, a passionate advocate for volunteers and a fount of knowledge on all matters of lifesaving, which she shared willingly. She will be missed, but her legacy lives on.”

Clive Holland
RLSS Deputy Commonwealth President 

Janet Castro Glasgow Janet Castro Coach Award Janet Castro Award

Janet Castro and Norm Farmer Janet Castro Queens Baton