Mullaloo and Sorrento with big haul at Surf Life Saving WA’s annual Awards of Excellence

Mullaloo SLSC president Stuart Clarke and Andrew Manning receiving the award for Patrol Club of the Year from Lotterywest's Lorna Pritchard.
Mullaloo SLSC president Stuart Clarke and Andrew Manning receiving the award for Patrol Club of the Year from Lotterywest's Lorna Pritchard.

MULLALOO and Sorrento surf life saving clubs were celebrated on Saturday night as they wrapped up another successful season.

The local clubs took out seven titles at Surf Life Saving WA’s annual Awards of Excellence, which recognise the contributions and achievements of members, volunteers and athletes.

Among the major award winners was Mullaloo’s Andrew Manning who jointly took out the AGL Lifesaver of the Year with Fremantle’s Liam Burke.

Manning was recognised for his valuable role in the coordination of volunteer abalone patrols during the 2017-18 season, which involved many preventative actions to potentially save the lives of many fishermen.

The 55-year-old who has been with the club since 2002 said he enjoyed helping the community enjoy “enjoy our great asset in the safest way”.

“I am very humbled to be recognised for my commitment to serving the community,” he said.

“It amazed me with all the hardworking volunteers in our club, I should be honoured this way.

“I hope to continue working at improving our service delivery and improved outcomes for the beach-going public.”

Also from Mullaloo, Sandy Clarke won both Official of the Year and AGL Volunteer of the Year.

Mullaloo SLSC’s Sandy Clarke receiving the Volunteer of the Year award from AGL’s Natalie Edwards.

With almost 20 years in surf life saving, Clarke said it was an honour to be recognised for doing what she loves, which she said was a team effort.

“From my earliest involvement with surf life saving, I have been inspired by those who have given their time and expertise freely,” she said.

“This has in turn inspired me to do the same.”

“The surf life saving movement has an awesome array of opportunities… and I’d like to think I could inspire and motivate others to have a go.”

Mullaloo’s success continued with Mark Hills being named Assessor of the Year.

The stalwart has been involved in surf life saving since 1974, gaining his bronze medallion at Mullaloo in 1975 and never looking back.

He said winning the award was a “fantastic accolade” knowing how “committed and talented my volunteer colleagues are”.

“I represent a great region of clubs including Sorrento, Mullaloo, Quinns Mindarie, Yanchep and the new Alkimos Surf Life Saving Club,” he said.

“The volunteer trainers and assessors are a rare breed of volunteers who are dedicated to training our developing lifesavers to the highest standard and for that I am truly fortunate to represent.”

Mullaloo rounded out the night with the award for Patrol Club of the Year.

President Stuart Clarke said the finalists and awards reflected the club’s current strengths.

“It was great the care we take in life saving was recognised,” he said.

“For example, our abalone patrols in conjunction with Sorrento SLSC and Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue is one of our biggest challenges.

“Sadly, this season there was a fatality during an abalone patrol but our members showed genuine care and respect while providing skilled rescue and resuscitation and consoling the family.”

For Sorrento, Jackson Symonds took out his fourth Athlete of the Year Award after he was the first athlete in more than 50 years to win a fourth Australian title in the open beach sprint.

Surf Life Saving WA’s Ken Vidler presenting the award for Open Athlete of the Year to Sorrento SLSC’s Jackson Symonds.

He also won gold and silver in the open beach flags and sprint at this year’s WA Championships and will shortly head to Japan as a representative on the Australian team, along with Youth Athlete of the Year recipient Jake Smith from Trigg Island SLSC.

The 24-year-old who has been a member of the club since he was 10 said it was “a bit of a shock” to again win the award.

“Everyone else who was nominated for it had an amazing year and any of them deserved it as much as me,” he said.

“But to have won my fourth is awesome; I never thought I’d achieve anything like this when first signed up back as a nipper.

“Sorrento has been really good to me and has supported me in any way possible to help me get to where I am today.”

Also from Sorrento, Jenny Plint was named Coach of the Year.

Sorrento SLSC’s JennyPlint receiving the Coach of the Year award from Engine Swim’s Toby Haenen.

SLSWA president Craig Smith-Gander said volunteer surf lifesavers spent more than 119,000 hours patrolling beaches, performing 550 rescues, 2842 first aids and 14750 preventative actions during the 2017-18 season.

“It is about celebrating all the volunteers who are the lifeblood of this great movement,” he said.

“These people are the everyday heroes of our beaches, all of whom commit countless hours of service to uphold our mission of saving lives and creating great communities.”

The winners will go on to represent WA at the Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence later this year.

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