GALLERY: Woonona SLSC celebrates centenary 

A little dreary weather did little to deter Woonona Surf Life Saving Club’s eager heroes in red and yellow from celebrating a remarkable milestone.

Yesterday, members of every generation gathered for a family fun day to mark the club’s 100th anniversary.

The conditions may not have been ideal but Woonona SLSC members weren’t going to let a few raindrops ruin their day.

Watching on from the sand, the club’s nippers were given an insight into surf lifesaving and tradition.

The celebration began with a march-past and pipe band, followed by a ‘‘rescue through the ages’’ demonstration featuring the traditional reel, line and belt.

A highlight of the day was the ambulance rescue helicopter, which stopped by to carry out a mock rescue in the water off Woonona Beach.

Although the early rescue equipment and techniques have evolved greatly over the years, those hands-on skills are still vital, says Woonona SLSC president Peter Evert.

‘‘You’ve gone from very much a manual system to relying a lot more on technology – helicopter, jet boat, jet-ski, inflatable rescue boat,’’ he said.

‘‘But there are a lot of circumstances when you have to grab a rescue board and go out and perform a rescue – those activities are at the core of what we do.’’ 

Last night the club marked their impressive anniversary with a gala dinner at the Lagoon Restaurant, where they were presented with a Silver Level Status award – the first club in NSW to receive this.

Surf Life Saving NSW president Tony Haven presented the honour, which recognised the volunteers’ commitment, teamwork and high-level skills.

Woonona is one of the state’s most respected and decorated surf lifesaving clubs.

In 2009 Woonona was awarded Illawarra Club of the Year and Illawarra Patrolling Club of the Year.

In the same year Peter Evert received the prestigious Ted Marshall lifesaving award, while club member John McInally was named volunteer of the year.

Woonona was again named Club of the Year last year.

The club has 450 members, of whom more than 110 go on patrol.

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