Our Ambassadors Ireland | North East | North West | Scotland | South | South East | East | Wales | West Midlands | Yorkshire | East Midlands Our team of Regional Ambassadors represent the President and the wider work of the Royal Life Saving Society UK and Ireland. They come from all walks of life, bringing a varied and valuable mix of experiences but what unites them, is a desire to support the work of the organisation, progress the aims and goals of the President, and to be the regional face of the organisation. Many of our Ambassadors have had key roles in developing Branches in their regions; providing additional support, running advice sessions, helping with AGMs, presenting awards for club and branch successes, or to individuals who have had a lifesaving impact in their community. All of these tasks form part of an Ambassador’s role. As the public face of RLSS UK and experts in their own region, Ambassadors are often asked to represent RLSS UK in the media. Annually, we aim to host an Ambassador's meeting at Worcester HQ, offering the opportunity to meet and discuss local challenges and share best practices. It’s also a time to hear about new initiatives from the organisation, for staff to gather insight from these key members’ regions and to have some social time as a collective. Our Ambassadors are always invited to attend AGM and the Honours ceremony. Our Ambassadors are selected by a panel of Board members after a nomination process. Current members are invited to submit nominations every second year (although the 2020 round was extended due to the pandemic), and a normal term in the role would be two years, with a maximum of three terms allowed overall. The time commitment to have a successful term in office can be determined by the Ambassador and the needs of their local region, but our current ones would tell you that they spend an average of four to five hours a week, on various tasks. Relevant expenses while performing Ambassador responsibilities are reimbursed. If you would like to contact the Ambassador for your region or apply for the role yourself, please email us: [email protected]. David Browne - Ireland David started lifesaving when he joined his local club as a teenager. Soon after taking his lifesaving awards, he began teaching with the same club and he’s still at it! David was encouraged by his Club Chair to get involved in the administration of RLSS UK and working with local committees, as well as on a national level. David later went on to become a Trainer Assessor for pool and beach lifeguards additionally advising the Society on the development of the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). David also enjoys participating in lifesaving sport, from Branch and Regional level right up to national, European and World Championships! Along the way David has been delighted to work with countless dedicated lifesavers who constantly inspire him. Perhaps most importantly, David feels fortunate to use the skills he has learned, to save lives. David believes that being involved with the Society has so many benefits to offer members and partners, he is passionate about promoting involvement with RLSS UK so that as many people as possible, can enjoy being part of the great lifesaving community. Ken Crass - North East Ken started Lifesaving in 1959 taking his Bronze Medallion as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and was one of the first 700 in the Country to receive his Gold award in December 1961. He continued with his lifesaving activities through the Durham County Police of which he was a member. In 1974, he along with a small group formed the Birtley Amateur Swimming Club which will be 50yrs old in 2024. He has held various positions on the Northumberland and Durham Branch and continues to support Branch activities. Ken was a National Tutor and was appointed Regional Chair in 2012, then appointed North East Regional Ambassador. He has also served on the National Honours Committee. Mike Wardle - North West Mike started his lifesaving involvement a long time ago at 14 years of age, completing his Bronze Medallion during swimming lessons at school and by his own admittance, doing it purely to get a 12-month free pass at the pool! When a new pool opened in the area, Mike joined the lifesaving club re-took his Bronze Medallion and progressed through the remaining awards. He went on to achieve his bronze and silver cross so he could do the Distinction Award but got bitten by the open water swimming bug. Mike has also enjoyed being involved in competitions both as a competitor and judge. In time, Mike went on to become a grade one examiner and teacher at the club and as a result, became involved at branch level as Technical Officer. Mike subsequently passed his branch interview, going on to spend a week at Warwick University to attain his Tutor status and is still currently involved in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) programme. Mike has been the Chair of the Manchester & District Branch for many years and grass-roots lifesaving work, is still a passion of his. Sheena Harper - Scotland Sheena has been involved in lifesaving for over 40 years, initially doing a Bronze Medallion course but quickly becoming hooked on all aspects of RLSS UK and its aims. In that time, Sheena has undertaken many roles within the Society from taking meeting minutes, to going on to be a Branch Chair. Alongside that, Sheena has been a member of several national committees. Sheena’s work has always been in a voluntary capacity, valuing the importance of the work done by both volunteers and the head office team. Currently, Sheena is actively involved in lifesaving sport as an International B official, having initially got interested after instructing at a local lifesaving club. Locally, Sheena is also involved in teaching of first aid and community awards. Professionally, Sheena is a primary school teacher and she enjoys the natural links between her passion for the educational aspects of the Society’s work and sharing skills with other people. Jill Bailey - South Jill has been involved with RLSS UK for over 45 years. She took up lifesaving following a Girlguiding holiday on the coast when her leader nominated her to be the “lifesaver” because she was a strong swimmer! Looking after yourself in the water is one thing …. being responsible for your friends was a very different matter at the age of 15! Consequently, she joined Hounslow School of Life Saving (HSLS) in 1972 to gain the necessary skills and qualifications for future camps and holidays. Jill was active with HSLS for about 15 years until she moved to Dorset. In this time she was an active voluntary lifeguard and rescue boat helm for the club’s patrols on the River Thames, as well as taking part in competitions. She became a teacher and examiner as well as acting as the club’s Hon Secretary. She was actively involved with the Middlesex Branch and served on its Branch Management Committee. On moving to Dorset, she very quickly became involved with RLSS Poole Lifeguard club and the Wessex Branch. She is a current NVBLQ Trainer Assessor, Survive & Save Instructor, as well as the Branch Vice-Chair and Public Relations Officer and was President for 3 years. Jill takes every opportunity to raise the awareness of RLSS UK. She enjoys supporting the Branches and clubs within the South and is keen to ensure young people have the same opportunities as she has had through volunteering with the Society. Jill (and her late husband Stuart – past-President of RLSS UK), were awarded the ‘Freddie Rowe Sports Cup’ in recognition of their services to sport and in particular to the Royal Life Saving Society UK by Sport Poole. John Stainer - South East John decided to take up swimming and lifesaving when he and his wife had their third child, feeling it was an appropriate time to learn water safety and rescue skills and in his own words, he took to it “like a duck to water”! John’s lifesaving career began when he joined Crawley Town Life Saving Club in 1976, he remained on the committee in various roles and is currently both the Club Welfare Officer and President. In 1982 John helped start Horsham Life Saving Club and is still a current committee member. Over the years, John has taken the majority of the Lifesaving, Pool and Beach Lifeguarding Awards, he is a Trainer Assessor (TA) for the NPLQ, a Survive & Save Instructor, Advisor, Rookie Lifeguard and Water Smart Instructor and formerly, a National Beach Lifeguard Qualification TA. Since 1976, John has competed in numerous local, regional, national and international lifesaving sport competitions, gaining many medals including at the European and World Championships events. He was the RLSS UK overall 60+ Masters champion for three consecutive years, before retiring due to an injury. Staying with the world of lifesaving sport, John was an RLSS UK and GBR Manager/Coach for Commonwealth, European and World Championships events for 10 years, has been an International A Referee for both Pool and Ocean, officiating at 14 World and European Championships, as well as nearly all RLSS UK National Championships since the 1980’s. More locally, John has been involved with the Sussex Branch for over 40 years and is their current Branch President. He has also been involved with the South East Region since 1979 and is their current Chair. In his time with RLSS UK, John has also sat on various national committees including: Board of Trustees, national competitions, lifeguards, College of Referees and the Organising Committee for Open Water National Lifeguard Championships. John has received national RLSS UK Honours including being awarded an Honorary Vice President in October 2019, where he was overwhelmed to be presented with such an unexpected Honour. Doug Thomas - Wales Doug has been passionate about lifesaving and lifeguarding all his adult life, having lost his brother to a drowning incident in Falmouth Harbour in the summer of 1972.Doug brings extensive lifesaving experience to the role having been a member since 1981 and an RLSS UK lifesaving Trainer Assessor since 1983, he holds the RLSS UK Distinction Award and was made an Honorary Life member in 2017. Doug currently works as a part-time lifeguard and has done for the last 33 years in South Wales, he also currently sits on the RLSS UK West Wales Branch Committee. Career-wise, Doug has worked at the DVLA for the last 43 years and additionally works for seven other registered charities in the UK holding various roles including, Press Officer with the Morriston Hospital League of Friends, Vice Chair on a school Board of Governors and Outreach Team Leader with the Samaritans UK.Doug is dedicated to his voluntary work, always with the hope of making a difference within his community.Doug was granted the British Citizen Award in July 2018 for services to the South Wales community. Steve Carter - West Midlands Steve has been volunteering for RLSS UK for over 20 years, becoming a member of the Shropshire Branch in 2005 and going on to become Branch Chair in 2012, where he continues in this role today. Steve works with volunteers and those from other partner organisations, delivering water safety and drowning prevention messages at community events in the local area, all supporting the aims of the Charity and to ensure awareness of the Society’s work. Steve has been instrumental in driving RLSS UK activity in the Shropshire area forwards, leading by example in reaching out into the community to deliver RLSS UK messages and training, to help save lives. His efforts have forged positive relationships with local stakeholders, enabling the Branch to deliver lifesaving messaging to members of the public. In 2016, Steve became the Leisure Services Training Specialist and On-call Duty Officer for Safeguarding for Telford & Wrekin Council, a role that includes delivering RLSS UK First Aid courses to members of staff with Steve also now able to offer this service, on a commercial basis. His role also includes the management of the Approved Training Centre scheme. Steve holds a number of Trainer and Assessor awards for RLSS UK. Most recently, Steve was honoured to represent RLSS UK on BBC Breakfast to speak about the Save a Baby’s Life courses. Janet Wilson - Yorkshire Janet has been involved with RLSS UK for over 50 years and is based in West Yorkshire but frequently involved in national and international projects, traveling whenever required. Previously, she has served as an RLSS UK Trustee, the ILSE Education Commission Chair, and RLSS Commonwealth Trustee. Currently, she is a member of the International Lifesaving Drowning Prevention Commission and also chairs one of its working groups on Water Safety. . Locally, Janet has strong contacts with many other RLSS UK members and the work they are doing, as well as contacts with other organisations and water-related activities. In her role as an active National Trainer Assessor, Janet spends a lot of time promoting RLSS UK training programmes and mentoring new Trainers. Although some of Janet’s extensive work associated with her qualifications is paid employment, most of her involvement is on a voluntary basis. Water safety is her passion and whether Janet continues to hold the role of Yorkshire Ambassador or not, she will always be an ambassador for RLSS UK work. Nicolle Herrington - East Midlands 19 July 2021 It is with great sadness we learnt of the sudden passing of RLSS UK Ambassador, Nicolle Herrington recently. Nicolle had always been a passionate exponent of the Charity’s work, starting out initially as a lifeguard, progressing through the IQL UK pathway, eventually becoming a Trainer Assessor in 2018 and then our East Midlands Ambassador in 2019. Nicolle’s recent involvement as a Charity spokesperson for Drowning Prevention Week, exemplified her life-long dedication to water safety that she shared with her wider community, through hosting water safety courses and lifesaving skills workshops. Nicolle also worked to develop a local swim school and had made plans to open her own. Nicolle’s vibrancy and hard work will be missed by all those that knew her at RLSS UK and our thoughts are with her family and friends, at this difficult time.