Hero British father, 45, dies saving his two daughters, 12 and nine, after they were caught in a strong current off a Portuguese beach



A ‘hero’ British father has died trying to save his two daughters off a Portuguese beach after they got into difficulty in the sea. 

Trevor Pelling, 45, a financial consultant, was already suffering cardiac arrest when he was pulled out of the ocean by surfers.   

Locals and a nurse who was on the beach spent nearly an hour trying to save him before he was pronounced dead. 

The tragedy happened just after 2pm on Thursday at Calada Beach in Encarnacao about an hour’s drive north-west of Lisbon. 

The man was initially described as a Dubai-born national who was travelling on a British passport. 

This morning he was named in Portugal as a British financial specialist called Trevor Pelling who was on holiday with his family and is currently based in the Middle East for work reasons. 

Mr Pelling describes himself on LinkedIn as an Abu Dhabi-based area manager at deVere Acuma, part of one of the world’s leading independent financial advisory organisations. 

The British holidaymaker was trying to aid his two daughters aged 12 and nine when they got into difficulties because of the strong current. 

They were later taken to Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon for a medical examination. A psychologist is assisting the grief-stricken youngsters and their mum, who has not been named. 

Lifeguard patrols on the beach where the tragedy occurred are not due to begin until June 12, although qualified Navy specialists working to protect the public through the so-called ‘Seawatch’ project were mobilised after the alarm was raised.

Calada Beach – Praia da Calada in Portuguese – is a long sandy beach that has the shape of a seashell. 

The popular surfers’ spot is surrounded by tall cliffs which protect it from strong winds. 

Portugal’s National Maritime Authority said in a statement issued late on Thursday: ‘A man aged 45 died today at Calada Beach, an unguarded beach in the district of Mafra, as he was trying to help his two young daughters aged 12 and nine when they got into difficulties in the water. 

‘The alert was received at 2.40pm through the District Operational Command Assist Centre in Lisbon. 

‘Cascais Maritime Police officers and officials from the “SeaWatch” project were immediately sent to the location using an Amarok vehicle. 

‘Three volunteer firefighter ambulances from Ericeira and two emergency and reanimation medical vehicles from Torres Vedras were also mobilised. 

‘Upon arrival at the site they found a man had been pulled out of the water by two surfers, he had gone into cardiac arrest and a nurse who was at the scene had begun to perform life-saving techniques which were then continued by the firefighters. 

‘Despite their attempts to resuscitate him, it was not possible to reverse the situation and he was declared dead at the scene. 

‘The body of the dead man, who was of foreign nationality, was later transported by the volunteer firefighters to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Torres Vedras. 

‘The two children were taken by ambulance to Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital, in a stable situation, accompanied by their mother. 

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Unique water safety program saving lives by teaching children with autism how to swim


Some children with autism have a fascination with water, a tendency to wander and little or no sense of danger, putting them much more at risk of drowning.

But a unique swimming program in Canberra — with a counterintuitive structure — has dived deep into the issue to turn the tragic tide.

Renee Zwikielberg has two children with autism — William, 9, and Sophie, 7 — and said she came frighteningly close to the tragedy of losing a child to drowning.

“We went on holiday about 18 months ago and William nearly drowned,” she said.

Ms Zwikielberg said they had tried many different types of swimming classes over the years from group settings to one-on-one lessons with instructors trained in teaching people with autism.

But she said it was not until William was enrolled in WaterAbilities at Black Mountain School that he made progress.

“At first, he didn’t even want to get in the water,” she said.

“He was afraid … and had a lot of anxiety about drowning given that it almost happened twice.”

William now has a better understanding of water safety and enjoys swimming lessons.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

But William has since thrived in the lessons, learning strokes, safety and how to enjoy the water.

And that’s also given Ms Zwikielberg confidence that her son would be safe around water.

“It’s really changed my life. I can’t stress that enough,” she said.

Strengthening exercises key to swimming success

The program’s unique composition involves spending as much time outside of the pool as in it.

The unconventional strategy has used land-based exercises that strengthen muscles and movements used for swimming well before participants try to thrash against the water.

Young girl swimming under water
Sophie had fallen behind in mainstream swimming lessons but now has greater strength to float and swim.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

Those strength-building exercises have been especially valuable for William’s little sister Sophie.

“Even at five, [Sophie] was what you would consider a floppy baby, but now her strength and her muscle tone has increased,” Ms Zwikielberg said.

Child swimming with woman
Flynn is happy to put his head under the water after taking part in the WaterAbilities program with his mother Ele.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

Ele Fogarty has seen a similarly remarkable transformation in her son Flynn.

The five-year-old happily and safely dived underwater for the first time last week after a sensory condition had meant he previously became distressed if water — even from a shower — washed over his head.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Ms Fogarty said.

“And he actually decided he’s going to do showers. They’re only small things but they’re massive.”

Drowning leading cause of death in children with autism

Carol Jennings co-founded the “holistic” pilot and said it was intentionally very different to mainstream swim schools.

“The whole team are allied health workers, so we draw on occupational therapy, exercise physiology, physiotherapy and early education, in addition to being swim school qualified,” Ms Jennings said.

According to Royal Life Saving Australia, children with autism are 160 per cent more likely to drown than those without.

And drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism.

Woman smiling
Cherry Bailey says there is a great need for a program like WaterAbilities.(

ABC News: Tahlia Roy

)

The ACT Government spent $15,000 on the trial, which was also supported by Royal Life Saving ACT.

Royal Life Saving ACT general manager Cherry Bailey said the disability community had been crying out for a solution like WaterAbilities.

“The demand was obvious and really important,” she said.

“We want these children to be experiencing the same types of program opportunities as children without autism.

“[The program] has provided really special connections for families and children in the water and provided focus points needed in terms of fundamental movement, development in the water and readiness to learn … water safety skills.”

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Rescued NT sailor Nigel Fox thanks AMSA emergency crews for saving his life after eight-hour ordeal


A man who, together with his pet cat, survived an eight-hour ordeal at sea has thanked his rescuers and urged other sailors to ensure they have a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) in the event of emergency.

Darwin solo sailor Nigel Fox was bound for the east coast of Queensland when his yacht was hit by an electrical storm and strong winds in the Arafura Sea, near the Gove Peninsula, on January 4.

The 55-year-old says he will never forget the terror of being knocked overboard and left hanging from the yacht by a safety line with his head submerged.

“The jackline was just the perfect length to hang me over the stanchions,” he said.

Mr Fox was able to reach for his hook knife to cut himself free before activating the PLB attached to his lifejacket.

Nigel Fox says he wouldn’t be alive without the Personal Locator Beacon, which he was able to activate when he was knocked from his yacht.(

ABC Far North: Brendan Mounter

)

‘That little box saved me’

The device alerted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which was able to pinpoint the distress signal coming 93 kilometres north-east of Nhulunbuy.

An air and sea rescue mission was launched and Mr Fox was eventually spotted by plane which dropped a life raft.

It was not until he saw the aircraft that Mr Fox knew for sure that the beacon was working, but at that point he was in no doubt that it saved his life.

“That’s when I knew the [PLB] was working. That little box of electronics, that’s what saved me.”

Close-up of device
Nigel Fox has urged all boaties to carry a working and registered Personal Locator Beacon.(

ABC Far North: Brendan Mounter

)

Mr Fox met some of the AMSA crew involved with his rescue and was thrilled to be able to thank them in person and put faces to their names.

“To be able to shake their hands and say, ‘You were the person who spotted me’, ‘You were the person I was talking to on the radio’, it’s really good,” he said.

“And they’re part of a far larger network of people that saved my life.

“These are the guys at the sharp end, but let’s not forget all the people in the background … they pooled together [and] saved my life.

Specialist cameras locate Fox in ocean

Aircraft mission coordinator Ollie Marin, who was aboard the aircraft which located Mr Fox, described the difficulty in finding him and dropping the life raft.

Man in AMSA uniform standing in front of plane
Ollie Marin was aboard the aircraft which located Mr Fox.(

ABC Far North: Brendan Mounter

)

“What actually picked him up was three cameras on the nose of the aircraft called ViDAR, which is actually a technology to automatically detect different colour and shape based on the background of the water,” he said.

“Thanks to Nigel’s bright lifejacket, the cameras automatically took a picture and gave his position, and then we set up to drop a life raft.

Man in AMSA uniform standing in front of plane
Ollie Marin says Mr Fox “saved his own life” by carrying emergency equipment aboard his yacht.(

ABC Far North: Brendan Mounter

)

Mr Marin and the other AMSA crew were grateful to meet the man they rescued and praised Mr Fox for carrying lifesaving equipment.

“It’s an awesome feeling, getting to actually meet him and shake his hand,” he said.

“We’re grateful he’s here, that he can pass on his story and educate people.”

Being prepared and staying positive

In addition to ensuring sailors carry a registered distress beacon, Mr Fox says all boaties should make sure all their safety equipment is tested and working.

“You go into the water prepared or you become a statistic,” he said.

Another key survival tip he learnt from his ordeal was to not lose hope.

“You have to stay positive,” he said.

“If you’re not, you start going downhill.

Mr Fox’s cat Stinky was also aboard the yacht when the storm hit and was rescued when the boat was recovered more than a day later.

Cat on sailing charts
Stinky the cat is Nigel Fox’s long-time sailing companion.(

Supplied: Nigel Fox

)

“She was cranky, hungry, thirsty,” he said.

“She’d been on the boat for about 30 hours on her own and she’d done at least 130 nautical miles.”

Despite his ordeal, Mr Fox is looking forward to returning to the water with his long-time sailing companion Stinky.

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Perth COVID lockdown forces A-League, NBL to cancel games, WA clubs withdraw from Surf Life Saving national titles


Sunday’s A-League clash between Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory is off, with the fixture postponed as a result of the three-day lockdown imposed by the Western Australian and Queensland governments.

Perth and the Peel region entered a snap 72-hour lockdown from Friday midnight WST after a man contracted COVID-19 while staying at one of WA’s quarantine hotels — Mercure Perth.

A close contact the man stayed with after his hotel quarantine period ended also tested positive to COVID-19.

The lockdown is due to end at midnight WST on Monday.

The Roar-Glory encounter was to have been played at the Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe and details of the rescheduled match will be announced at a later date.

Meanwhile, Saturday night’s AFL clash between Fremantle and North Melbourne at Perth Stadium will go ahead, but without crowds, while supporters have been told not to go to matches in Victoria this weekend if they have been in the Perth metropolitan and Peel regions since April 17.

The AFL announced on Saturday that West Coast Eagles players and staff who had travelled to Geelong ahead of their match with the Cats had all been COVID tested and had returned negative results.

The match will go ahead as planned, with the Eagles returning home by charter flight this evening.

“Supporters must not attend matches in Victoria this weekend if they have been in the Perth metropolitan area and Peel regions since April 17 unless they have confirmation of a negative COVID test,” the AFL said in a statement.

In the NBL, the Perth Wildcats played the Brisbane Bullets last night in Perth, winning 92-74 in front of 4,737 fans, ahead of the start of the lockdown.

However the Bullets’ scheduled game at 3pm AEST on Sunday against the South East Melbourne Phoenix at the Queensland State Netball Centre has been postponed until a later date.

The Phoenix will instead fly to Cairns to take on the Taipans at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena at 5pm AEST on Sunday.

In Super Rugby AU, the Western Force beat the Queensland Reds 30-27 in the hours before lockdown on Friday night in front of a crowd of 6,500, as the Force clinched a finals spot for the first time in their history.

Another Queensland sports event affected by the lockdown is the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.

The championships, which are being held on the Sunshine Coast, are having their finals day on Saturday.

The Surf Life Saving Association has announced that any of their members affected by the Queensland restrictions on travellers from Perth cannot attend any championship site “until further advised”.

 “All Western Australian Clubs, officials and members were contacted to ensure that they comply with the public health order,” the SLSA said in a statement.

“All competitors scheduled to compete today have been contacted and SLSA can confirm that they have withdrawn from the competition.”   

AAP/ABC

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11 COVID-19 alerts issued for Gold Coast, including Surf Life Saving event attended by hundreds


A Surf Life Saving competition attended by hundreds of competitors and onlookers is one of 11 contact tracing alerts issued by Queensland Health.

Anyone who attended the 2021 QLD Senior and Masters State Championships at Tugun Beach between 12.30pm and 2:00pm on Sunday, March 28, should get tested immediately and quarantine at home until a negative result is received.

Competitor Matt Bevilacqua attended Sunday’s Surf Life Saving competition and said while 1,500 people were initially expected to attend the event, “the least amount of numbers would have been there at that time”.

“It was just pure finals package, very few competitors left,” he said.

“Limited, absolute limited numbers from throughout the whole weekend of that 1,500 would have been represented on the Sunday.”

Surf Life Saving Queensland has been contacted for comment but in a social media post, urged attendees to get tested.

“We are working with the authorities to contact those close contacts who also attended the event,” the post read.

Wake-up call for some

Queensland Health has issued a contact tracing alert for 11 locations, including Niche & Co Café in Tugun.

In a statement posted on social media, a Niche & Co Café spokesperson said staff members were self-isolating and awaiting test results and that cafe had been closed on Tuesday for a deep clean.

“We are cooperating with and following the instructions provided to us by QLD Heath officials and are currently awaiting any further information,” it said.

“The trust, health and safety of our staff, customers, and the community is our priority.”

Jenson Sharpe, who works at the fish and chip shop next to Niche and Co cafe, said it had been a wake-up call.

“And, yeah, just mainly shocked and more concerned for the elderly people that live around in the area because there’s quite a few nursing homes in the area.

“[We’ve] put a sign outside saying we need all our customers to wear masks.”

Cafe workers cop abuse over masks

Hundreds of people have queued at COVID-19 testing clinics, and the compulsory use of face masks is in place ahead of the all-important Easter weekend.

After a local tradesman was confirmed as one of eight new community transmissions on Tuesday morning, the city has avoided a lockdown so far but is being urged to comply with Queensland Health’s mask mandate.

But hospitality workers have already received verbal abuse from customers refusing to wear masks.

Gold Coast Cafe manager Ali Pariz says some customers have refused to wear a mask.(

ABC Gold Coast: Sarah Cumming

)

“They’re just kind of mad at it,” manager Oceans Cafe at Mermaid Beach Ali Pariz said.

“They think it’s our fault that we don’t want them here or something like that.

Wearing masks in public indoor areas is mandatory across all of Queensland until 5:00pm Thursday, pending a state government review on Wednesday.

“I would say that 90 per cent of the people are OK,” Mr Pariz said.

“But you know there is always one.”

The Gold Coast holds its breath

It’s understood that the tradesman likely contracted COVID-19 after attending a hen’s party in Byron Bay as an entertainer over the weekend.

Six other women who attended the party have also tested positive.

Tricare Mermaid Beach
The Tricare Aged Care Centre Mermaid Beach has been in lockdown.(

ABC News: Steve Keen

)

The tradesman then did contract work at the TriCare Mermaid Beach Aged Care Residence for two hours on Monday.

Two employees have entered isolation after “limited interaction” with the man, but a Tricare spokesperson said he had no direct contact with residents.

Since then, there have been hours-long queues at the nine COVID-19 testing clinics on the Gold Coast.

People queueing outside COVID-19 testing clinic at Robina on the Gold Coast.
People queueing outside COVID-19 testing clinic at Robina on the Gold Coast.(

ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale

)

But Matt Bevilacqua said the alert was “shocking and disappointing” and had put future major events under a cloud.

“Just really gonna have fingers crossed for the next few days,” he said.

“Our nationals [are] in a few weeks as well, so a lot of questions marks at the moment.”

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A simple answer to saving water


Nicole Gibson’s husband was frustrated that he could not wash his hands
in the laundry due to the sink because it always occupied with clothes soaking.
At the time she lived on acreage in Queensland with water restrictions, reduced
dam levels and with a grey water recycling system.

Nicole was told by her husband to stop wasting water in the laundry sink
and make it more user friendly for him to wash his hands while she was soaking
clothes. Nicole accepted the challenge and designed a water saving laundry
soaking system, which she launched through setting up her company Soka
Australia.

Determined to design an innovative concept that allowed multiple items to be separately soaked in different solutions, Nicole also wanted to design a product that could be the solution to many other household problems, reducing the need for impulse purchases contributing to household clutter.

“When you live in a drought-stricken country, every drop counts.”

Her concept was simple – increase the usability and functionality of the
laundry sink whilst saving water, detergent, space, time, money and sanity,
whilst allowing access to the drain and the tap for rinsing. She determined
that her innovation should solve the most common laundry complaints of mums,
namely:

  • Having a wasted laundry sink space.
  • Dripping water to the machine after soaking.
  • Using too much water in the sink for one item.
  • Using too much laundry solution.
  • Not being able to recycle that water easily.
  • Not being able to rinse things when an item is soaking in the sink.
  • Having a backlog of different stained items waiting for soaking.
  • Reducing skin contact with dirty water.
  • Eliminating the risk of children drowning.

The outcome of Nicole’s efforts is the Soka Tub, which is made up of one
large main tub and three removable, smaller compartments.

“This allows you to separately soak three different items in three
different laundry solutions, making multitasking easier in the laundry,” Nicole
explains.

The Soka Tub is ergonomically designed to lift lighter loads and once
individual compartments are lifted out, the draining lids reduce skin contact
with waste water. The draining lids also double up as an effective mixing tool
during the soaking process. The main tub can also be used for larger items
likewise the lid is also the perfect size for spot cleaning.

Every drop helps

The Soka Tub is ergonomically designed to save water by having smaller
compartments for soaking and handwashing.

“By using less water means you need less laundry solution,” Nicole says.
“If you use the internal litre measurement indicators it will also encourage a
more accurate water to detergent ratio conducive for cleaning and stain
removal. Team this up with earth friendly and biodegradable laundry solutions
it then allows that wastewater to be recycled safely in the garden.”

By making this sustainable switch, the Soka Tub can save between four
and nine litres of water in the laundering of a basic man’s shirt.

“This may not sound like a lot, but when you live in a drought-stricken

country, every drop counts,” Nicole opines. “If the average Australian family
soaked one item once a week, and there are 6.7 million families of two or more
people, that’s between 23 – 60 million litres of potential water saving per
week. Incredible to think how such a small contribution can have a significant
impact on our environment and subsequently our dam levels.”

Adaptability brings greater reward

The Soka Tub is also BPA free, increasing the versatility of its
applications. With a focus on a circular economy, the Soka Tub finds can solve
other problems around the house.

“One product with infinite uses is a must have when space is a premium,”
Nicole says. “When storage space in most homes, apartments, caravans and boats
is limited, it is great to have a stylish, practical and versatile homeware
that meets the needs of all ages and generations.”

With a detailed ethical business plan incorporating sustainability
development goals, it is pivotal for Nicole that that the Soka Tub’s packaging
is made out of recycled cardboard boxes including biodegradable and
newly-implemented paper packing tape.

While so many businesses struggle with the impact of COVID, the
increased focus on the health and hygiene of the family home has seen Nicole
record significant growth, with record sales and engagement since the pandemic
took hold.

“The ability to separately wash personal protective equipment without
the fear of cross contamination is of the utmost importance during pandemic
times,” Nicole says.

As the product is made in Brisbane Nicole hasn’t experienced the
supply-chain issues that so many manufacturers have had to battle.

“This alone has been a blessing to not only be able to meet the needs of
my customers and suppliers, but more importantly continue to support local
businesses in my community along the way through difficult economic times,”
Nicole says. “I always say it takes the support of a village to stay in
business, and as a country we have certainly witnessed Australians supporting
local and buying Australian made.”

Paying it forward

Nicole says that her business is all about encouraging everyone to save
water and educating them about how to create an ecofriendly laundry space. She
is also determined to support those living in water restricted areas with
strategies to save water around the house. In order to fulfill this mission,
Soka Australia launched the City to Bush campaign late in 2019.

“The campaign supports farming families affected by drought conditions who already know how to make every drop go further,” Nicole says. “Australians can pay it forward by gifting a Soka Tub, distributed via community support network groups around the country, to help drought-affected families save water in the laundry and more, importantly, to show that we care.”

This story first appeared in issue 30 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine



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Sheriff Praises ‘True Hero’ Wife for Saving Husband in Kayak Incident



A kayaker in Florida had a lucky escape recently, according to a post shared to Facebook by the Broward Sheriff’s Office on January 5. Video by the sheriff’s office shows deputies reeling the kayak to the shore after the man ran into difficulty on a lake in Weston. According to the post, the man’s outing “almost turned tragic” after the kayak overturned in the water. “His wife was able to swim out to him with life vests as neighbors called 911,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. When emergency support arrived on scene, they found the wife of the victim paddling in the kayak with her husband in tow, they said. A rescue swimmer was then deployed to swim out to the kayak and attach a tow line which gave deputies and firefighters the ability to pull the watercraft to safety. “Had the man’s wife not responded quickly and decisively, the rescue team may have been dealing with a recovery instead of a rescue. She is the true hero of this story,” the sheriff’s office said. The kayaker appeared to be uninjured, but was taken to Cleveland Clinic Hospital for an examination as a precaution. Credit: Broward Sheriff’s Office via Storyful

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This technology could start saving lives tomorrow, but the Nationals won’t let it happen


While NSW Police do their best, they can’t have eyes everywhere.

Every year thousands of people are breaking the law by speeding. As the Herald reported 10 years ago, they are getting away scott free because NSW is the only state in Australia that refuses to switch on point-to-point speed averaging cameras for motorists.

NSW only uses these fixed cameras for heavy vehicles, over 4.5 tonnes. That’s caused a 44 per cent reduction in deaths from crashes, enough to justify extending them for heavy vehicles on the M7 and elsewhere in 2021.

There is no replay when a car crashes in real life.

There is no replay when a car crashes in real life.Credit:TNV

This technology could start saving lives tomorrow especially on country roads where about 45 per cent of fatal crashes occur in NSW.

The NSW Centre for Road Safety found there were 1,268 fatal crashes involving speed, resulting in the deaths of 1,388 people from 2008 to 2016 and about 12,000 serious injuries from 2008 to 2015.

A decade ago, the then minister for roads, the Nationals’ Duncan Gay, signed the national road safety plan which endorsed point-to-point speed enforcement.

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It has never been implemented in NSW for vehicles except for trucks. The Herald reported in 2011 that 94, 271 drivers of vehicles had been detected speeding on country roads by these cameras, but never fined.

What happened? Is it because point-to-point is unfair? Nope. UNSW emeritus professor and road safety expert Professor Raphael Grzebieta says it is fairer because it doesn’t penalise drivers for momentary lapses but only for speeding for an extended time.

Did it lack supporting research? No. The road safety plan included evaluations showing it reduced deaths and serious injuries. In the UK, reductions in the number of people killed or seriously injured typically exceeded 50 per cent. A review of the ACT system found improvements happened nearly overnight.

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge were illuminated in yellow for road safety week in November yet experts say a well proven method of saving lives is not being used in NSW for political reasons.

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge were illuminated in yellow for road safety week in November yet experts say a well proven method of saving lives is not being used in NSW for political reasons.

Did it make trips longer? No, a report by the European Union found it resulted in smoother traffic.

Did it lack support? Apart from NSW’s NRMA, every other road safety research and motorist group around Australia has endorsed it. Australian states continue to report on its success.

So what stopped speed averaging being extended to vehicles in NSW? The NSW Nationals, say Professor Grzebieta and Harold Scruby, the head of the Pedestrian Council of Australia. “It is worse than a joke, it is criminal what they have done,” says Scruby. “These Nationals have more excuses than a pregnant nun.”

Australia’s experience with COVID, especially in NSW, has proven that listening to research and science pays off. Isn’t it time we extended the same standard to road safety? Beep beep.

Julie Power is a senior Herald journalist who writes about safety issues. She attended the Third Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm in February supported by a fellowship from the World Health Organisation.

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Penguin’s little surf life saving club named best in Australia


The cheek and confidence of Penguin’s junior surf lifesavers does not come from knowing their club just won a major award.

Club president Allison Kable says they are always this happy to be training and to be in the sea.

“They’re pretty energetic kids that we have here, so all this noise is a pretty regular feature,” she said, as a squadron of squeaking juniors sprints past and head-long into approaching waves.

Everyone at the club has a spring in their step.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)

Penguin was named club of the year at this month’s Surf Life Saving Australia National Awards.

It recognised the club’s ability to reinvigorate itself in recent years in the face of changing times and ageing stalwarts.

The club has boosted patrol numbers, boat-ready members and community engagement by re-opening its clubrooms — overlooking beautiful Preservation Bay — to groups and activities as varied as yoga and tap-dancing.

A woman smiling to camera with beach and relaxed people behind
Allison Kable says the club is thrilled to receive the national award.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)

There is much pride about the award on the beach, but Ms Kable believed the extra spring in the step of members was more about the simple act of coming together as a group after a difficult pandemic-affected year.

“All up we have 174 members, from nippers, who are four or five, all the way up to our most senior member, Ken Knight, who is 87,” she said.

“With COVID-19, it was pretty hard having to lock it all up and lock people out of the club.

“We were lucky, though, that we put a lot of work into our COVID-safe plan during lockdown so that we could get our members back in.

Young and old surf club members wash down paddle boards outside the club house
After training comes time to clean up.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)

“But, you know, Ken’s back now and he’s straight back into the gym at 87.”

A trainer talks to a group of young surf lifesavers on the beach, paddle boards lined up in foreground
The club believes strongly in the role it plays in the community.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)

Another achievement for the club came in the form of an individual award for Nicholas Canales, who was named Tasmanian Surf Lifesaver of the Year and also a finalist for the national award.

The 21-year-old boat crew member had taken on the key roles of lifesaving manager and chief instructor in the past year.

Young man smiling in front of a surf boat
Nicholas Canales was named Tasmanian Surf Lifesaver of the Year.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)

“Last year the under-23 boat crew won the open division state title, but the award I won is more about dedication to the organisation and what we do together as a club, really,” Mr Canales said.

“It’s a reflection of the club and also of surf life saving in Tasmania.

“Our club is very family and community orientated. It’s quite a positive environment, especially for the young fellas coming through.”

Chaotic splashing as a group of young lifesavers run from the ebach into the waves
The members know the best way to deal with cold water is to get under water fast.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Rick Eaves)



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