Defying the medical professionals
Annie applied to become a Beach Lifeguard for Ryde Beach Lifeguards in 2019, for which she was successful in obtaining the role as well as RBLG’s fully funded training programme. Which included a gruelling week of fitness and lifesaving skills in the sea and pool as well as theory work in classroom. On completion the lifeguards undertake external assessments and if pass, obtain their National Beach Lifeguard Qualification, First Aid at Work, AED and Anaphylaxis specialisms, as well as VHF and Power Boat Training.
Becoming a Beach Lifeguard is not easy, and we see many applicants each year unable to pass the basic fitness tests during our recruitment process. Therefore, when applicants pass their training and become a member of the team, it is generally a very emotional, well- earned celebration.
Annie through her own perseverance, along with the support of her colleagues passed her training in 2019, completing a summer season thereafter. Returning again this year, progressing to a Head Lifeguard position. Annie has always been a strong member of the team and the team were overjoyed with her recent achievement
“Being born with cerebral palsy has meant I have had to overcome a number of challenges that most people don’t have to deal with.
My parents were told when I was born that I would more than likely be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and even if I was able to walk, I would never be able to participate in sports.
Despite what medical professionals said, through my mental perseverance and the support or friends and family, I have been able to take part in a number of sports. Water sports being one of them, living by the sea I naturally spent most summers in or around the sea. Therefore, when my parents saw the opportunity to become a Beach Lifeguard on the notice board at our local pool, I applied straight away.
Having been successful in the initial application, I had to then pass the training which was challenging to say the least. In particular the timed swim (400m in less than 8 minutes), which on my first attempt I didn’t achieve. However, with the relentless encouragement of the rest of the team and Todd (Beach Manager), as well as my own determination. Each day I brought my time down and when it came to the assessment I passed!
Following that, I completed a whole summer season in 2019 and returned this year, being promoted to Head Lifeguard. I love being a Beach Lifeguard, it is so rewarding and I am known for always being the first to offer to go out on the rescue board, kayak or IRB.
Outside of the summer months I attend university, this is where I discovered rowing. Due to my passion for the sport my coach recommended that I apply for the GB Paralympic
Programme, which I did and recently received the news that I classify and have been accepted into the GB Paralympic Training Programme and couldn’t be happier!
I am excited about the future and want to thank everyone who has supported me. I hope my journey will inspire others to pursue what they are passionate about!”
Being part of a Beach Lifeguard team isn’t just an easy summer job where you top up your tan, which is the general perception from many. It is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding job that certainly never leaves you.
I am extremely proud of Annie and the rest of the team, as it has been a busy summer with many sea rescues, first aids and missing children already under their belts.
RLSS Pool/ Beach/ OWL Lifeguard/ NRASTC/ ATSPRA/ ER Pool Trainer & Assessor