WAUCHOPE-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club was named the branch club of the year at a gala awards night on June 5.
It was Mid North Coast Surf Life Saving's night of nights and an opportunity to thank clubs for their commitment and dedication to their local communities.
The 2020-21 Newcastle Permanent SLSMNC Branch Awards of Excellence were held at Crescent Head Surf Club.
Special guests were Melinda Pavey MP and George Shales president of Surf Life Saving NSW along with SLSMNC life members, Chalkie 'Bob' Smith OAM, John Vipond and Rod McDonagh,
Wauchope-Bonny Hills and Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Clubs took out the lion's share of awards with Camden Haven's Brienna Rumsby winning the Youth Life Saver of the Year title for her club.
Surf Life Saving Mid North Coast president, Rod McDonagh, spoke on the incredible amount of effort that the local surf life saving volunteers put in, especially over the past two seasons.
"It was great to finally have everyone back together for the first time in two years to celebrate surf life saving on the Mid North Coast," he said.
"This season saw us heavily involved in the flood response, both in the Hastings and Macleay areas. The amount of time, effort and resources that all eight clubs put into this emergency event is extraordinary.
"As branch president, I am extremely proud of our members and the resilience they have to keep on giving, not only on the beaches but in the wider community."
Wauchope-Bonny Hills SLSC conducted initiatives including Gotcha For Life 24 Hour Row-Fundraiser, installation of a community AED, inaugural 'Rainbow Gold' and a collaboration with Camp Quality to provide assistance for children with cancer.
Leanne Goggin, WBHSLSC director of administration, was extremely proud of her club to have won this prestigious award.
"We are always looking at better ways of doing things and having a supportive and forward thinking committee enables us to do this," she said.
"It has been a great season for our club, and we continue to put our members and their experience in surf life saving at the forefront of our decision making.
"The selfless contributions that our members do on a voluntary basis that often go unnoticed is what makes our club so special."
The major award winners were:
- Rookie of the Year - Nick Player - Wauchope-Bonny Hills
- Youth Athlete of the Year - Nick Caldwell - Tacking Point
- Masters Athlete of the Year - Raelene Myers - Tacking Point
- Official of the Year - Tina Woodward - Tacking Point
- Trainer of the Year - Ian Everingham - South West Rocks
- Administrator of the Year - Ian Latham - Wauchope-Bonny Hills
- Coach of the Year - Mick Lang - Tacking Point
- Surf Sports Team of the Year - The Kockatoos - Wauchope-Bonny Hills
- Youth Volunteer of the Year - Alyssa Slattery - Tacking Point
- Youth Lifesaver of the Year - Brienna Rumsby - Camden Haven
- Volunteer of the Year - Elaine Walker - Wauchope-Bonny Hills
- Surf Lifesaver of the Year - Matt Worrall - Kempsey-Crescent Head
- Branch Club of the Year - Wauchope-Bonny Hills
Many of the above award winners will represent the Mid North Coast at the Surf Life Saving New South Wales State Awards in August.
There was also another major award recognised on the night.
'Chalkie' Bob Smith OAM is a name synonymous with surf life saving, especially on the Mid North Coast. He has trained, assessed, competed, coached, and mentored many surf life savers across his many decades in the movement.
Chalkie's surf sports officiating legacy was recognised by a 50 year long service officiating award for his volunteer time and dedication towards the competition component of Surf Life Saving, both locally, nationally and internationally.
A member of the Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club since 1961, Chalkie gained his Bronze Medallion in 1954 and has continuously patrolled voluntarily to this day.
Obtaining his officiating award in 1962, Chalkie continues to officiate in various capacities, specialising in R&R (Rescue and Resuscitation) and march past events.
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