The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, announced its new President and Deputy President at its annual conference last weekend (July 2 and 3).

Ian Hutchings stepped up from the role as Deputy President of RLSS UK and replaced Peter Moyes as President, taking up the reins for the next three years.

The event also saw the election of the charity’s new Deputy President, Mark A Smith, after he was voted into the role by RLSS UK members.

A member of RLSS UK’s Devon Branch, Ian has been involved in the charity and lifesaving for 46 years. The former police officer has experience ranging from delivering lifeguard and first aid training, mentoring young people – having been an instructor at his club since he was 16-years-old – and coaching the GBR Lifesaving sport squad.

He said: “Being elected by the membership to the prestigious role of President is an absolute honour. Having fulfilled many roles within the society gives me the knowledge and understanding of how our great organisation functions and how valuable its volunteers and staff are.

“This, together with support of everyone around me, will help me fulfil my vision to reach as many people as possible in the UK and Ireland with our water safety messages and lifesaving programmes to help drive down the number of people who unnecessary lose their lives to drowning. We must not stop people enjoying the water but make sure they do it safely.”

Mark, a member of RLSS UK’s Nottinghamshire Branch, has been involved in lifesaving and lifeguarding for most of his life, with much of that time spent developing safer open water environments, specialising in music festivals across the UK. Concerned by the number of lifesaving clubs closing over the last decades, Mark is keen to develop ways to make them thrive and new ones to open as well as exploring how the 10,000 qualified RLSS UK lifeguards can be further developed to extend the charity’s messages deeper into communities.

He said “I believe in the real passion our members have for drowning prevention and for our society; focussing that passion on engaging new and existing members can help us create positive experiences across the UK & Ireland in, on and near water. As lifesavers we can create positive memories that last a lifetime and prevent the contrary. I am very excited about supporting Ian moving forward.”

Ian will now act as a figure head for the charity and lead the Board of Trustees, supported by Mark who will step up as the society’s youngest ever President in 2019. The board now also has a new Chair after Dawn Whittaker, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue, was recently appointed into the role.

RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “I would firstly like to thank Pete Moyes for his tireless work over the past three years and wish him all the best for the future.”

“We welcome Ian as President and look forward to the next three years. He has already dedicated much of his time and wealth experience in his role as Deputy President and to the society generally over the years. Ian has an energy and enthusiasm which I am sure her will successfully inject into the charity.

“I am delighted to welcome Mark back to the board as Deputy President. Mark has both the professional and volunteering background that perfectly aligns with the current direction of the organisation,” she added.

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