North Coast junior Surf Life Savers take out awards

Surf Life Saving North Coast Branch President Les Pepper and Newcastle Permanent Coffs Harbour Assistant Branch Manager Chey Bowden with James Freeman from Bellinger Valley-North Beach SLSC and Lily-Mei Wong from Woolgoolga SLSC.

CHOSEN from a strong field of contenders, two of the North Coast’s brightest young surf life saving talents have been announced as the Newcastle Permanent Junior Surf Life Savers of the Year in a ceremony at Urunga Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) on Sunday 11 February.

Taking out the title for the girls was Lily-Mei Wong from Woolgoolga SLSC, while James Freeman from Bellinger Valley-North Beach SLSC was named winner of the male award.

Joining in the under elevens, Lily-Mei is a humble all-rounder who enjoys the fun and friendships surf life saving provides, while remaining passionate about the movement.

She particularly respects and draws inspiration from her fellow competitors and older patrol members who have contributed for many years.

James has been involved in surf life saving since he was five-years-old and is inspired by his mum’s own achievements in the sport and his dad’s role as Junior Club President.

His biggest highlight was achieving his Surf Rescue Certificate which allowed him to join his dad on patrol, and his goal is to further upskill to better assist his club.

Surf Life Saving North Coast Branch President Les Pepper said that there was a strong field of contenders for the awards.

“Each of our local clubs puts forward a female and male nominee, who are required to participate in the Newcastle Permanent Branch Championships and also sit for an interview with a panel of judges,” Mr Pepper said.

“It’s not easy, but Lily-Mei and James really rose to the challenge and both impressed the panel with their work ethic, passion for the sport, and dedication to the community.

“Lily-Mae and James are strongly committed to surf life saving, which is wonderful to see.

“Newcastle Permanent has supported us for over fifteen years, which helps keep events like this one running, our nippers in the water and our beachgoers safe.”

Newcastle Permanent Coffs Harbour Assistant Branch Manager Chey Bowden said that she was very impressed by the talent of the North Coast branch’s young members.

“All of the candidates for the Newcastle Permanent Junior Lifesaver of the Year are phenomenal and demonstrate a dedication to their local communities like no other, so for Lily-Mei and James to come out on top is a huge achievement,” Chey said.

“Along with their beach safety knowledge and water skills, it’s wonderful to see that they are giving back to their community at such a young age.

“Witnessing the development of young leaders like Lily-Mei and James makes all of us at Newcastle Permanent feel exceptionally proud of our partnership with North Coast Surf Life Saving.

“It’s clear that Lily-Mei and James have very bright futures ahead.”

The North Coast branch of Surf Life Saving NSW has eight clubs, patrolling beaches from Minnie Water to Nambucca Heads.


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