Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club pays tribute to retiring founders

Billy Prinsloo and Scott Jessamine lay a wreath on Remembrance Day. Picture: Emma Walker
Billy Prinsloo and Scott Jessamine lay a wreath on Remembrance Day. Picture: Emma Walker

YANCHEP Surf Life Saving Club has paid tribute to lifesavers who have served in Australia’s armed forces, as well as the volunteer group’s founding members.

Club members gathered on the beach at Yanchep Lagoon on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice.

They remembered the sacrifice and service of those who died or suffered for Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts, including surf lifesavers who have served in the armed forces.

Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club holds a minute’s silence. Picture: Emma Walker

President Billy Prinsloo acknowledged the contributions of his predecessor John Heesters, his wife Bev and Sharon Taylor over the past decade after they stepped away from active roles in the club.

Mr Heesters said the most rewarding achievement had been moving the club into the new building last season after “nine years of negotiations” to shift it from the “old shack” to a better location overlooking Yanchep Lagoon.

John Heesters has stepped down from his role as president.

He recalled 12 rescues made by himself and Scott Jessamine in one hour during an abalone fishing session, for which they received Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery awards.

Mr Heesters said it had been rewarding to work with his wife and Ms Taylor to train all the current club members, bar one, to achieve surf lifesaving awards and to watch their son grow from a five-year-old nipper to a 17-year-old patrolling the beach.

“Bev, Sharon and I agree that the act of giving one’s self to the community for a cause like surf lifesaving is a most rewarding thing. Surf lifesaving and all those who volunteer in it will always have a place deep in our hearts.

“Surf life saving is an amazing place where ordinary people step up and become superheroes,” he said.

Mrs Heesters said the most rewarding part of being part of the club was “training others in the community to save lives on the beach”, as well as running the nippers program.

She said one of her biggest achievements was doing a double resuscitation on the beach with Ms Taylor, where two men would not have survived without the treatment the lifesavers performed.

Bev Heesters and Sharon Taylor.

Ms Taylor, who stepped away from her role as treasurer, said another big achievement had been “patrolling every weekend when the club membership was really low”.

She said “building the club up from being run down and in debt to now having excellent equipment, bigger membership and strong finances” had also been rewarding.

Scott Jessamine and Billy Prinsloo with the Remembrance Day wreath. Picture: Emma Walker