2023 Surf Lifesaver of the Year, Cheryl McCarthy, has stood down from the role of Far South Coast Surf Life Saving Director, after more than five years in the position.
The senior member of the Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club has done incredible work in the community during her time – from Nippers water safety, to receiving national recognition for her service during the Black Summer Bushfires.
Ms McCarthy has occupied a laundry list of positions at club, branch, state, and national level and, further, in her Emergency Services role, is often the first point of contact for incidents in the region.
“I think if you’re volunteering, you need to do it because there’s a smile on your face and because you love it and I genuinely do,” McCarthy said.
“I have taken so much joy out of my lifesaving journey, being down on the beach patrolling is just my happy place and I get a lot of fulfilment out of the emergency response side as well.”
“My fellow lifesavers inspire me every day.”
McCarthy is sticking around at the Bermagui SLSC – and will be working in an Emergency Management role supporting the new Director, Emma O’Neill and the team of volunteers with preparedness, emergency management and response.
O’Neill who hails from the Merimbula region and the Pambula Surf Life Saving Club, where she completed Nippers all those years ago, is thrilled to have been recruited to fill the vacancy.
“In the last five years or so I’ve found myself back in Pambula and re-engaging with my local club,” O’Neill said.
“I took over as Director at our most recent AGM, and I’m finding my feet with the guidance of Cheryl, and I’m really enjoying it so far,” she said.
O’Neill was already in the FSC Director of Education role and was awarded the Myril Bunt Award for Administrator of the Year at the 2022-23 Far South Coast Branch Awards of excellence for her work with Pambula Surf Life Saving Club.
“The main aim for all surf life savers is to prevent as many drowning deaths as possible across our coastline, So I’ll be looking to improve our services and being more present on our beaches.”
Images: Surf Life Saving Far South Coast