The Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service (MHVLS) celebrated another successful season at their annual senior prize giving held on June 30. The 2017/2018 MHVLS season set a number of new records, with 15 new lifeguards qualified, four inflatable rescue boat (IRB) drivers and numerous other first aid and marine VHF radio awards.
There were a number of major rescues during the season including a mass rescue on Mangawhai Beach with a number of junior guards involved. The Flavell Trophy, in honour of Marie Flavell, was awarded to the best patrol for the season, captained by Stella Waldron and Brad Kehoe. Senior Lifeguard of the year was awarded to Daniel Hassall for his amazing leadership and skills as a lifeguard.
The Arnie Leader Senior Award went to the clubs junior surf coordinator, Inez McDonald, who has worked tirelessly developing and enhancing the Nipper Programme which runs every Sunday. The club also recognised Shay Waldron for her ten year contribution to Junior Surf, which continues to go from strength to strength.
Club president Jon Drucker was awarded Patrol Member of the Year. He patrolled over 150 hours this summer, but also worked tirelessly behind the scenes managing day-to-day operations including funding and property. His speech highlighted the values of commitment and camaraderie that the club hopes to develop in its lifeguards and members.
One new lifeguard in particular who gave outstanding service to the club was 2018 Rookie of the Year, Isaac Johnson, who not only patrolled over 85 hours during the season, but was also involved in a number of major after-hours rescues. The highlight of the evening was when senior lifeguard and chief club instructor, Jess Costello, was awarded a life membership for her ongoing service and contribution. Costello has been a member for 20 years and during that time has given thousands of hours of volunteer time in training, lifeguarding and managing most aspects of the clubs operations.
Costello has been training lifeguards almost since she joined the club and has worked as a professional lifeguard here in NZ and overseas in the UK. She is also a qualified paramedic and teaches First Aid in the region. It was no surprise she was added to the list of MHVLS Life Members as she opitimises the core values of surf life saving in NZ: In it for life.
The awards signalled the formal end to the MHVLS season with the AGM coming up in August. The club would like to acknowledge members and supporters for all the hard work and volunteer time they have given this season. Also to all of the local businesses for their continued support of the popular volunteer service.