At the recent AGM of SLSA Wales, our Chair, Paul Edwards was made a life member for his long services as a volunteer for SLSA Wales. Paul’s citation, read as:

Paul joined surf lifesaving in Wales, when he became a junior member of Rhoose Surf Life Saving Club in 1977. Straight away, he became actively involved in all the Club’s activities, from voluntary lifeguard patrols at Font-y-gari, to competitions including Welsh and British Championships, as well as supporting the fundraising efforts of the Club.

During the early 1990s’, Paul started to help the Gear Stewards of SLSA Wales, Peter Derbyshire and Gerald Cooper and by the mid-1990s’, Paul had taken over this role completely and was now Gear Steward for SLSA Wales. At that time, the Gear Steward was also responsible for the SLSA Wales IRBs, two 4m Seariders’, acquired by ‘Chic’ Thompson from his days at the National Coastal Rescue Training Centre.

The fact that Paul is still involved with these activities, on behalf of SLSA Wales some 40 plus years later, says all we need to know, regarding his nomination for Life Membership.

In 1999, Paul became the first Chair of the newly formed Powercraft Commission and again, he is still active within this Commission today. As well as local club IRB patrols and carnivals, Paul has discharged his duties in essential safety provisions, without which, no lifesaving competitions in the sea can go ahead. Paul has run/helped with safety at Welsh, British, European and World Championships a remarkable achievement.

During the 1990 and early 2000s’, SLSA Wales IRBs’, were stored in the boat house of the lifeguard building at the Knap in Barry. Over the next decade, Paul spent more and more of his voluntary lifeguard time, in Barry and eventually joined the lifeguard club there. Two years ago, he was elected as Chairman for our Club.

In his years with our Club, he has actively supported everything the Club is involved with. From Nipper training, to training IRB crews, supporting fundraising events and maintenance of club boats and equipment, he never gives anything less than 100%.

Equally, he never gives anything less than 100% when supporting Chris Parry and all the Welsh IRB crews at the various events throughout all of Wales.

Finally, in the summer of 2020, in a year, most people will want to forget, Paul was cox of the Cold Knap IRB, which rescued 7 swimmers in difficulties in the seas around Barry. 4 were caught in a strong current at Whitmore Bay and after a radio call from the RNLI Beach Lifeguards, asking for assistance, Paul responded. The second happened later that day, when 3 swimmers became exhausted, trying to swim from the offshore tower at Knap Point, back to the beach. Again, Paul driving the IRB reacted to the situation and returned the swimmers to shore. If it wasn’t for the IRB, Paul and his crew, that summer’s day in Barry, could have ended in tragedy, for all those families.

The committee of the Rhondda (Cold Knap) Lifeguard Club highly commends Paul for his actions on that day, have no hesitation in recommending him for Life Membership of SLSA Wales, a small but just reward, for his 44 years of service to surf lifesaving in Wales.