Volunteer surf lifesavers can be the forgotten heroes of our nation, occasionally risking their own lives to save others on top of the countless rescues they perform each summer.
To notch up 35 years as a lifesaver is in itself a highly commendable achievement, but to do so without missing a single patrol – as Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club legend Tc Campbell has done – is truly exemplary.
Tc this week was awarded a 35-Year National Patrol Service certificate for his remarkable feat, attained through the last 10 years as a member at Birubi and 25 years prior at Fingal clubs.
He puts his achievement down to good fortune, enjoying a relatively illness-free career and a love for the surf.
“I have been lucky that I have never had any serious illnesses, I had a hip replaced some years ago but I insisted on having the surgery performed during the off-season,” the 66-year-old from Salamander Bay said.
“Receiving this award is something I am very proud of, but I do have to pay gratitude to the many fellow patrol members I have been associated with over the years.
“There is a close bond between surf lifesavers and the camaraderie among the members is special. I also enjoy watching and helping to guide the younger members come through.”
Tc says that the training around surf lifesaving has improved over the years, with the emphasis today more on preventative actions.
“The training tools are far more sophisticated and we have defibrillators on hand. We are a lot more safety conscious these days but lifesavers still need their certificates in things such as first aid, resuscitation, bronze medallion, IRB and radio proficiencies.”
Tc says while he doesn’t compete in the surf events anymore, he continues to participate in monthly events with the Tomaree Triathlon Club, which he helped found in September 1991.
“The Tri club gets together for competition from September to April on the second Sunday of each month and this Sunday we will be raising funds for drought affected farmers,” he said.
The tri club stages two levels of competition – a 250m swim followed by 10km bike ride and 3km run and for the more advanced a 500m swim followed by 20km ride and 6km run.
Lifesavers and lifeguards have started patrol season at Birubi, Fingal and One Mile beaches, which will continue until April next year.