Newcastle Permanent North Coast Junior Lifesavers of the Year announced

Newcastle Permanent North Coast Junior Lifesavers of the Year Lillian Lougher from Minnie Water-Wooli SLSC and Ned O’Donnell from Urunga SLSC with Erica Farag, Branch Manager Lending, Coffs Harbour.

URUNGA SLSC member Ned O’Donnell has been recognised as Newcastle Permanent North Coast Junior Lifesaver of the Year (male) at a presentation at Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) on Sunday 12 February 2023.

Junior Lifesaver of the Year (female) is Lillian Lougher from Minnie Water-Wooli SLSC in the Clarence Valley.

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Ned told News Of The Area he feels extremely proud and privileged to have been awarded this title.

The values he loves about surf life saving are trust and fun.

“Trust, because without it you can’t function properly and if you can’t trust someone how can you do your job properly?

“Fun because in order to learn and operate you need to have fun because fun is what draws people in and fun is what makes it worth it,” he said.

While he’s not yet been involved in any real-life dramas on the beach, he told NOTA, “I look forward to being able to take part in a problem in order to help save somebody’s life.”

Noting the transferable skills of surf life saving, Ned cites resuscitation and first aid as the most important things he’s learned that will serve him beyond the beach.

“Both allow you to help in real world situations.

“To be honest, I don’t think many people know these, or even how to read the surf condition to know when it’s safe to surf.

“Surf life saving is an amazing thing to take part in because you learn valuable life skills, you have fun and it’s just an all-round good vibe,” said Ned, who attends the Chrysalis Steiner School in Thora.

Patrick Mullan, Director of Member Services for North Coast Branch, said Lillian and Ned were evidence the future of surf lifesaving is in good hands.

“Overall, our winners were decided on the whole picture; their contribution to Surf Life Saving, promotion of Surf Life Saving within the community, their leadership qualities, and general surf lifesaving knowledge and skills,” said Mr Mullan.

“Lillian and Ned are all-rounders, both in competition and lifesaving on and off the beach, who showed great potential for the next stage of the program.

“The North Coast Branch would also like to extend our appreciation to Newcastle Permanent, our partner for more than fifteen years, who make everything possible within our branch, including being the naming rights sponsor to our Junior Lifesaver program,” said Patrick.

Ned “came from the mountains” and joined Urunga about four years ago.

He draws his inspiration from his mum and her achievements through her life, and he is passionate about seeing more parents and kids alike joining surf lifesaving and getting involved with their local community club.

Focused on becoming a role model and helping younger nippers throughout their surf lifesaving journey, Ned is distinctly aware of the power of the ocean and feels it is important everyone has an awareness of surf safety.


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