Gillian Stallion, Survive & Save Instructor at Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving Club, is today’s guest blogger and here she gives us an insight into a Survive & Save Camp.

Two East Midlands clubs came together during the May bank holiday weekend to prove you don’t have to live near the beach to complete your beach awards, they managed to combine taking an important water safety award with having fun and making new friends. Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving Club and Retford Lifesaving Club combined forces to enable over 40 of their members to take part in the weekend as guests of Saunton Sands Surf Lifesaving Club.

The under 12’s worked hard on Saturday, brilliantly supported by the leaders at Saunton Sands LSC to complete their Junior Lifeguard award and received t-shirts, drinks cup and a certificate to prove just how good they were. On Sunday following an excellent breakfast barbecue on the beach we were able to train with Saunton’s Rookies to gain the full experience of how different training outside and in the sea is from the pool and gained lots of experience working on the paddle boards.

The over 12’s (and one BULSCA member who was seriously over 12) were put through their paces by RLSS UK Instructors Paul Anderson and Peter Moyes, using the natural environment, groups were able to research the hazards and lots of practical activities made the theory sessions fun as well as instructive. All candidates finished the weekend by successfully completing their RLSS UK Survive & Save silver core and silver beach awards, (even Oliver Coleman from BULSCA after a little bit of extra help from his team mates he finally made it).

On Sunday they all rose to the challenge of paddling on boards round the headland towards Croyde Bay a remarkable feat and not to be out done Peter and Paul also joined in just to show them how it should be done. A barbeque supper, breakfast on the beach and rides in the Inshore Rescue Boats were just some of the highlights. To make the experience even more enjoyable and unique the base camp for the weekend was a nearby campsite where several of the group were camping which meant the odd impromptu game of rounders late into the evening and just generally having a great time. Ian Butterworth (HS&LSC chairman) commented “the whole weekend was an amazing experience and would not have been possible without the help and support of everyone involved at Saunton Sands SLC particularly Dave Worms who was involved in all the pre-event arrangements, I also need to give them a massive thank you for the use of all their equipment and facilities, practical activities really bring home the safety messages we are trying to give to both our club members”

Details of Retford Lifesaving Club can be found at and Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving club at