Noranda resident honoured for decades of saving lives

Tom Ballantyne.
Tom Ballantyne.

NORANDA resident Tom Ballantyne (60) – a lifesaver for more than 30 years – says teaching children water safety skills motivates him to keep on going.

The Central Aquatic Swimming and Lifesaving Club member was awarded life membership of the Royal Lifesaving Society of WA for decades of training, saving lives and competing on November 26 for WA.

He represented the state team as a player and coach from 1987 to 2000, with WA winning the national championships in 1997. He also won a silver medal in the simulated emergency rescue competition at the 1998 World Lifesaving Championships. In 1999 he went to India to start coaching clinics and develop a pool lifeguard program.

Ballantyne, who works for the Public Transport Authority, volunteers at Bayswater Waves every Saturday and assists with the Society’s programs.

He said lifesaving had become more professional compared over the years.

“I had kids from the club that I taught – they actually got a Bravery Award this year,” he said.

“All the kids that come, they can get a job as a lifeguard when they are doing university. As well as it giving them a good lifesaving skill, it actually gives them a career path.”

He said when people had to use their first aid skills, it was likely for someone they knew.

“It could be a family member that you might need to do it to,” he said.

“My young grandson had a brain clot at home when he was 12 months old.

“We were able to just stabilise (him), not panic and ring the ambulance to get help for him.”