Awards for coun­try’s lead­ing life­savers

Sunday News - - NEWS -

WITH light fad­ing fast, Far North life­savers waded through pum­melling three-me­tre swells and strong cur­rents to save two divers stranded for more than five hours on rocks un­der the cliffs at Tapo­tupotu Bay, near Cape Reinga.

Thom An­der­son, 30, stu­dent An­thony Walker, 17, and fel­low life­savers Tony Walker and Kate Clarke were 125km away in Ahipara when they got the call to help on March 9.

De­spite the wild con­di­tions, they re­turned the divers to the beach be­fore 8.30pm, just as dark­ness was clos­ing in.

Last night, their heroic ef­forts were recog­nised as they won the Res­cue of the Year at the Surf Life Sav­ing New Zealand Awards of Ex­cel­lence.

Club mem­bers from around the coun­try gath­ered at the Her­itage Ho­tel in Auck­land for the pre­sen­ta­tion of the awards.

Levin-Waitarere’s Nathan Berry, 27, won the ti­tle of Life­guard of the Year for his work at the club, which in­cluded hold­ing mul­ti­ple se­nior roles and men­tor­ing others.

Vol­un­teer of the Year was awarded to Kate Suter from Sum­ner Surf Life Sav­ing Club.

The Far North’s Thom An­der­son, a fire­fighter for the Ahipara Fire Bri­gade, said be­ing a life­saver was some­thing spe­cial he could give back to the com­mu­nity.

‘‘I like help­ing peo­ple and see­ing their re­ac­tions from peo­ple when we save them I’m go­ing to stick with it for as long as I can. Be­ing a life saver you end up be­ing part of a re­ally big fam­ily.’’

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