Riversdale Surf Life Saving club captain Mike Taylor, right, being presented with his award by Ted Varcoe. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Eighteen years of volunteer service to Riversdale Beach Surf Life Saving Club has seen club captain Mike Taylor awarded the region’s 2017/2018 volunteer of the year award.
The annual Capital Coast Surf Life Saving regional awards of excellence were held at the weekend involving clubs from Paekakariki, Titahi Bay, Lyall Bay, Levin-Waitarere, Maranui and Riversdale.
Mr Taylor first became involved with the Riversdale club in 2000 after getting a push from his mum, who wanted him to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Joe Taylor – the club’s first president.
“I had four young boys and mum decided it would be good if the surf club was strong and would keep her grandchildren actively involved,” he said.
“It seemed to have worked out quite well.”
He said seeing the growth among chldren in the club was what kept him involved.
“When they’re 14 years old, they’re shy and timid and then they turn into giants,” he said.
“With a lot of sports, the mum and dad are out there pushing them from behind, but with surf life saving, once they get out there, mum and dad can’t help them.
“If they can’t do, they can’t do it, but they achieve all right.”
Mr Taylor is the club’s chief inflatable rescue boat [IRB] examiner, life guard award examiner, and a VHF radio instructor and assessor, as well as being involved in the year-round call-out squad.
He also drives from Wairarapa to the Kapiti Coast every month to attend lifesaving committee meetings.
Mr Taylor said he was “pleased” he won but quick to credit the rest of the team for their volunteer efforts, saying there had always been great people involved at the club.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand central region manager, Netta Cagney, said the awards were the perfect opportunity to give thanks to all the life guards and club members for their work throughout the year.
“All our members have worked so hard over the past 12 months, so it’s great to recognise those who have undoubtedly made a difference in their communities.
“The beaches are so much safer because of their work and we’re thankful for that.”
Mr Taylor’s award means he is now a finalist for the national 2018 DHL Volunteer of the Year award, which will be judged later in the year.