Kerry Carrington is enjoying a new lease on life after taking up surf lifesaving for the first time at 61.
After retiring from her full-time job as university professor, Carrington was looking for her next chapter when she stumbled upon the Fairy Meadow Surf Life Saving Club in January.
Carrington had always loved the beach, and came from a surfing background, but she had never tried her hand at surf lifesaving. However, she was keen to give back to her community and saw that her local club had begun a recruitment drive.
Since joining, Carrington has never looked back.
She stepped up to become Fairy Meadow SLSC's director of member services and has thrived with the new opportunity, showing a willingness to under take training and develop new skills.
"I put my hand up to take on that role after I realised just how much these people give to the community," Carrington told the Mercury.
"Surf lifesavers are volunteers and give so much of themselves to the community and people don't realise how important it is to have them - there are many people at risk of drowning. Fairy Meadow is becoming a much more popular beach and much more crowded. But a lot of people come that don't know how to swim properly, so there's an increased need for surf lifesavers.
"I've learnt so much about surf risks, health, first aid, board training - everything really."
Fairy Meadow SLSC life member and director of education Jeremy Kuiper said Carrington had become an asset to the club with her "open communication and willingness to help others".
"Kerry's dedication and approach to her role will see the club grow and I have no doubt lead to positive outcomes," he said.
"Her biggest asset I think is that she is genuine and has a real passion for the club, its members, and the services we provide to the community."
Carrington will be one of many Fairy Meadow SLSC members who will be ready to greet the general public when they hold an Open Day on Sunday.
There will be a range of activities on offer for people of all ages, starting from 10am, including in the water and on the beach.
"We have people of all age ages, there's even a guy who is well into his late 80s or early 90s. But all they're such fit people, and what amazes me is how community oriented they are - some have been patrolling that beach for over 50 years," Carrington said.
"What's so attractive about being here is that it's such a mixed, diversion club - from nippers right through. It's a huge dedication, but the people here are amazing and they're really welcoming to women, girls and people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
"You don't have to be the strongest swimmer or surfer to become a surf lifesaver, you just need to be community oriented and dedicated. And there's jobs for people of all kinds of skills, from patrol to the back end of the club.
"There's great camaraderie here which is wonderful to see in action."
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