Clubs combine to play it safe as youngsters win awards

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Two East Midland clubs have come together to prove you don’t have to live near the beach to complete your beach awards, combining to take an

important water safety award while having fun and making new friends.

Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving Club and Retford Lifesaving Club combined forces to enable over 40 of their members to take part in the weekend as guests of Saunton Sands Surf Lifesaving Club.

The under 12s worked hard on Saturday, brilliantly supported by the leaders at Saunton Sands LSC, to complete their Junior Lifeguard award and received t-shirts, a drinks cup and a certificate.

On Sunday, following an excellent breakfast barbecue on the beach, they were able to train with Saunton’s Rookies to gain the full experience of how different training outside and in the sea is from the pool and gained lots of experience working on the paddle boards.

The over 12s were put through their paces by RLSS instructors Paul Anderson and Peter Moyes. Using the natural environment, groups were able to research the hazards and lots of practical activities made the theory sessions fun as well as instructive.

All candidates finished the weekend by successfully completing their RLSS Survive and Save silver core and silver beach awards. On Sunday they all rose to the challenge of paddling on boards round the headland towards Croyde Bay, a remarkable feat.

A barbecue supper, breakfast on the beach and rides in the Inshore Rescue Boats were just some of the highlights.

To make the experience even more enjoyable and unique, the base camp for the weekend was a nearby campsite where several of the group were camping which meant the odd impromptu game of rounders late into the evening and just generally having a great time.

Ian Butterworth, who is chairman of Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving Club, said: “The whole weekend was an amazing experience and would not have been

possible without the help and support of everyone involved at Saunton Sands SLC, particularly Dave Worms who was involved in all the pre-event arrangements.

“I also need to give them a massive thank you for the use of all their equipment and facilities, practical activities really bring home the safety messages we are trying to give to both our club members.”