Members and guests of Horsham Life Saving Club gathered at The Normandy Centre in Horsham last Thursday for their Annual Presentation Evening, where cups and certificates were presented to all those who had achieved so much during 2016.

The Guests of Honour handing out the awards were Councillor Christian Mitchell, Chair of Horsham District Council and Dawn Whittaker, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK). They were assisted by Tim Bolton from The Pavilions in the Park Leisure Centre and Helen Bowker, RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Co-ordinator for the South.

Both Guests of Honour congratulated the club on the terrific success that they had achieved in both providing instruction about water safety at the pool and in getting the message across to people in the community about the dangers of being in and around water.

During the year 166 examinations have been passed successfully:  these were mainly Survive and Save syllabus life support and lifesaving exams at gold, silver and bronze levels taken at. Open water activity was performed at Southwater Lake and Beach activity at Lancing and Littlehampton. Some members also qualified for the First Aid at Work Certificate, as AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Operators and in conjunction with The Pavilions NPLQ (National Pool Lifeguard Qualification).

Outreach activities in the local community included delivering CPR training sessions at the Pavilions in the Park Leisure Centre during Drowning Prevention Week, seven free ‘Save a Baby’s Life training sessions for those with young children and presentations at Infants, Junior and Secondary Schools.

Members competed and achieved success at lifesaving competitions in Sussex, the South East Region, National Finals in Sheffield and at a International Competition in Holland.

The annual internal competition had fewer entries than in the past but there was still fierce competition for the cups.

The results were –

  • Set Piece Event 1st place:  Teachers: David Slade. Ladies: Erin Tarling Men: Zach Gaudiano
  • Incident Event 1st place: Teachers: Jenny Fletcher. Ladies Sophie Lee.
  • Speed Event 1st place: Ladies: Sophie Lee. Men Sean Ottley
  • Overall Aggregate Champion: Jenny Fletcher

2016 was the 125th Anniversary of the foundation of the RLSS, and various commemorative events took place around the Commonwealth and the UK. The club set members and supporters a challenge to swim 125 lengths of the pool between September and December and produced a special badge and certificate to mark the achievement of the 27 who succeeded.

John Stainer received one of HRH Prince Michael of Kent’s Commonwealth Recognition Certificates and was introduced to HM The Queen in a reception at Buckingham Palace. Robin Akers and David Slade each received a William Henry 125 Certificate for reaching 125 points in the William Henry Reward Programme.

The Endeavour Cup was awarded to Josie Simmons who had worked extremely hard to improve her swimming in order to pass her Bronze Core and Silver Corps timed swims and then go on to pass her Bronze and Silver Medallion pool exams. Josie also achieved her Bronze & Silver Stillwater and Beach exams.

The Club Member of the Year, voted for by members, saw the trophy awarded to Edward Baker, the 4th member of the family to belong to the club.

Chairman David Slade says “A new Survive & Save class will begin at the end of January and application forms can be found on the club website

“Around 400 people a year drown in the UK and Ireland, can you afford not to know how to prevent it happening to you, your family or friends. Sadly, events such as that at Camber Sands do happen but they can be prevented.”