"I first started lifesaving lessons in Portsmouth in 1957 and have not looked back since. I passed my elementary, intermediate certificate and my bronze medallion by 1959, whilst at school I assisted in ‘Land Drill’ teaching other students at Portsmouth Technical High School until I left school in 1961.

In 1959 I joined Portsmouth and Southsea Voluntary Lifeguards and the next year began teaching lifesaving lifeguarding within the club. It was during this time that I passed my Bronze Cross, Award of Merit, Distinction Lifeguard Cadet, Beach Lifeguard Proficiency Certificate, Instructors Certificate, and was also appointed as a Grade 2 Examiner.

I taught about 20 examinees each year between 1960-67, from bronze medallion up to lifeguard awards. As the treasurer of the club, I led negotiations with the local Council to replace the timber lifeguard hut which frequently washed away, with a permanent replacement. I also completed in excess of 200 hours voluntary lifeguarding on the beach each year and organised and participated in weekly reel and line demonstrations on Southsea beach.

Between 1957 and 1967, I was involved in three rescues where I managed to rescue a total of twelve people. Unfortunately there were attempted rescues which were unsuccessful, and aged 15, I attended a man who had suffered a heart attach and required CPR, but despite my efforts I was unfortunately unable to save him, an experience that has had a pronounced effect on me. 

After the death of a neighbours young child who had drowned in a garden pond, I started teaching water safety more widely, aged 19. Due to my commitment to lifesaving, I was awarded a Certificate of Thanks by RLSS UK in 1965 which was presented by HRH Princess Alexandra.

In 1966 I fundraised for a Cross Channel Relay where I and five others swam from Cap Griz Nez to St Margarets Bay in 12 hours 6 minutes. 

I then moved to St Albans and joined Hatfield Pool Swimming Club and the lifesaving element grew from just one lane to an hour slot on a Sunday where we also provided lifeguard cover for disabled swimmers. I soon became involved with competitive lifesaving and coached club members to take part in competitions, where there were some notable successes. I then qualified as an Advanced Teacher with Herts branch and began tutoring branch courses before being elected as President of the Hertfordshire branch for 1973/74. I was awarded a President’s Commendation which was presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.  

In 1974 my work took me to Stoke-on-Trent and I joined Congleton Swimming Club where I started a lifesaving section. There was also a pool which was being built in Alsager where I trained staff to be up to Pool Lifeguard’s in time for its opening and as a result I started a small lifesaving club there. During a lunch time swim in Handley I was able to perform a rescue to save a 14-year-old girl who was unconscious in the pool.

Another job move took me to Norwich in 1976 and in 1977 I became a Life Governor of RLSS UK. After joining Norwich Swan SC I established a lifesaving section, soon growing from one lane for an hour a week to two lanes. Over a 13 year period the section grew to have 6 classes in the space available. As well as this I was able to initiate lifesaving courses for Norfolk Police Officers which then developed to include the Fire Service, Norwich Union and occasionally trainee stewardess’ from Air East Anglia.

From 1979 to 1986 I was the Secretary of Norfolk Branch and during this time worked with the local authority to ensure teachers had the opportunity to learn lifesaving skills and water safety training. In 1980 I was awarded the Recognition Badge of the RLSS presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

From 1983 until 1989 I also ran a Lifesaving Class with the Octopus Swimming Club in Norwich High School. One of the trainees in that period was Dr John Peel who went on to become Branch Chairman and Branch President. In 1984 I was presented with the Bar to the Recognition Badge by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

From 1984 until 1989 I also ran a Lifesaving Class at Hewett School which both teachers and pupils attended, and also visited schools around the county to deliver school assemblies on water safety.

I served on the Norfolk Water Safety Committee for 10 years and was able to secure funding to enable courses to be run and resuscitation manikins to be purchased. I became President of the Norfolk Branch in 1987 and in 1989 was awarded the Service Cross of RLSS UK in 1989.

In 1989 after a move to Romsey, I joined Romsey Lifesaving Club to teach, becoming Treasurer of the club in 1990 and in 1992 another job re-location took me to Sussex. There I joined Horsham Lifesaving Club as a teacher before taking over as Club Chairman, Chief Instructor, Membership and Awards Secretary in 1994. In 1995 I instigated the Club Lifesaving Championships which have ran successfully each year since.

I re-took my Bronze Medallion every year from 1959 until 2012 when Survive & Save was launched and since then have maintained a Distinction every 2 years. Life Support 3 qualification is of course still a bi-annual pre-requisite.

Due to my commitment to RLSS UK, in 2002, I was made an Honorary Life Member of the charity. Then in 2004 I was elected as Sussex Branch President and in 2008 I received the RLSS UK Recognition of Service Medal for 40 years plus service, soon followed by a 50 year Long Service Medal in 2010 and was then invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party for my commitment to lifesaving.

I was convinced to come out of retirement in 2011 to compete in the Sussex Branch Lifesaving Championships and advanced to the South East Region where I achieved a gold medal but was unfortunately unable to compete at the finals in Sheffield due to prior commitments, and I then retired from competing once again.

I couldn’t stay away for long, however, as in 2012 I competed in the South East Region Master’s 60+ and went on to compete in the National finals where I won a gold in swim and tow, a silver in the line rescue and bronze in the life support sections, and then said I would retire once again.

The temptation of competing for medals was too much and I came out of retirement for the third time in 2013 and once again reached the finals where in the 60+ events I achieved gold in Swim and Tow and the Line Throw Rescue, silver in the Incident, bronze in the Life Support and Silver Overall. This time I promised retirement from competing was for good as I needed a hip replacement.

In 2012 I passed my bronze, silver and gold Medallion, Stillwater and Beach exams and the, then new, Distinction award in Survive and Save, as well as requalifying as a Survive and Save Instructor and Tutor. I have achieved my Survive & Save Distinctions bi-annually since 2013 and 2021 was positively the last time, he says  – mind you I've said that in 2015, 2017, 2019 as well.

In 2014 I was elected for the second time as President of the Sussex Branch and that same year Horsham Life Saving Club was awarded the Clive Holland Club Trophy in the National Honours, something which they won again in 2020. In 2016 I was awarded the RLSS Medal Of Honour.

I moved to Littlehampton in 2009 and when the new Wave Leisure Centre opened in 2019 I formed the Littlehampton Wave Life Saving Club and secured two lanes to undertake wet training for an hour and the use of a room for the theory and CPR for an hour. I continue to make progress in developing the club, which was made significantly more difficult with the Covid pandemic.

In 2021 I stood down as Chairman at Horsham Life Saving Club to give more time to the Wave Club but continue to be involved as a teacher at Horsham.

I have recorded occasional events related to my journey in lifesaving as poems, which have been published in two books of poetry.

In 2020 I won the 2019 William Henry Award which came as a surprise and was a source of satisfaction none the less that the efforts of the year had been worthwhile. 

A previous ‘William Henry’ winner, Terry Draycott and I, have both been Freemasons for years and are both members of The Royal Life Saving Lodge which meets in London. It was established in 1909 so in 2019 when it celebrated it’s 110th Anniversary and I was celebrating 60 years since I passed my Bronze Medallion I was delighted to be elected Master of the Lodge for that year, thus following in the footsteps of William Henry who was Master in 1917.

I firmly believe that being involved with the Society has made it so much easier to become part of the local community each time my job took me to new places."