Hon­oured for fol­low­ing pas­sion

A life­time of love has gone into Coolum’s beach­front

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE - Tessa Pa­trick Tessa.Pa­[email protected]­news.com.au

AS A young boy, Paul Nor­man and his brother would hitch a ride up to the Sun­shine Coast from Bris­bane to spend their week­ends surf­ing at Coolum.

Now 44 years on, the vet­eran pa­troller was hon­oured with a dual life mem­ber­ship to both the life­sav­ing club, and the sup­port­ers club up­stairs.

How­ever, where he’s most at home is in the wa­ter or on the golf course.

“Over the years I’ve pad­dled com­pet­i­tively and pa­trolled the beaches, but my pas­sion is still surf­ing,” Mr Nor­man said.

“I love the whole ethos of the club, the motto, no lives lost be­tween the flags. I just love the wa­ter.”

One of the long-stand­ing blokes on the beach, Mr Nor­man said there was still a group of peo­ple who came down to the beach ev­ery week to help.

“It’s never been hard work,” he said.

“Every­thing I’ve done has all been pre­ven­ta­tive, and when the sun got up we would go surf­ing.”

He re­called a time, many moons ago, where he helped to drag an un­con­scious man into shore, who was then re­sus­ci­tated by his pa­trol-mates.

“It’s re­ally just nice to give some­thing back,” he said.

“It’s a tricky stretch of beach.”

The Coolum Beach Surf Life­sav­ing Club is now in its 99th year, and pre­par­ing for 365 days of cel­e­bra­tion next year.

While Mr Nor­man has been in­volved with the club for al­most half of its life, he no­ticed that while some things had changed, many have stayed the same.

“You just grow with the club,” he said.

“It’s al­ways lo­cal based, the heart of the com­mu­nity, and you get out what you put into it.”

Surf life­sav­ing is slowly be­com­ing a legacy in the Nor­man fam­ily. The two broth­ers were quick to get their Bronze Medal­lions as soon as they were able, and since, Mr Nor­man has had a string of rel­a­tives get in on the club ac­tion.

“We’ve had two or three gen­er­a­tions,” he said.

“It’s that iconic Aus­tralian life­style.”

He re­flected how the club had grown with the com­mu­nity, and said when he first moved to Coolum it was still a “sleepy lit­tle coastal town”.

“No one lived here, and it’s still a pretty close-knit town if you look at it.”

Mr Nor­man loved the Coolum area for its small-town feel, where he could walk down the street and ev­ery­one would wave or say hello.

He be­lieved the grow­ing beach­side town still held a lot of the orig­i­nal soul, es­pe­cially when it came to his work with the surf club.

“Ev­ery­one ap­pre­ci­ates what we do,” he said.

“It’s what keeps me com­ing back af­ter all these years. It’s just a way of life.”

In his 44 years, Mr Nor­man has con­trib­uted man­power on the beach, brought home wins for the club, and as­sisted in run­ning the up­stairs.

He joined the sup­port­ers club in 2005, and at a re­cent AGM he was hon­oured with a life mem­ber­ship for his tire­less ef­forts.

The hum­ble life­saver is the sec­ond club mem­ber ever to hold dual life mem­ber­ships, and he still ac­tively pa­trols.

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

LIFE MEM­BER: Paul Nor­man has been hon­oured with dual life mem­ber­ship at the Coolum Surf Club.

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