MEMORIES: Captain of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club Andrew Dougherty with veteran lifesavers Richard Crandon, Eoin Johnston and Jack Trevan. Mr Johnston is holding a picture of himself taken in the early 1960s.
MEMORIES: Captain of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club Andrew Dougherty with veteran lifesavers Richard Crandon, Eoin Johnston and Jack Trevan. Mr Johnston is holding a picture of himself taken in the early 1960s. Graham Broadhead

Push for surf lifesaving veterans to form "old boys network"

IT didn't take long for a few yarns to be told.

All Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club life member Eoin Johnston had to do was show a photograph of himself in the early 1960s in his surf lifesaving clobber - with a lifesaving reel behind him.

Those were the days of belt swims for wannabe lifesavers, who had to swim 300m out and come back with their "patient" as part of the testing for the Bronze Medallion.

Richard Crandon, from Ballina, remembers the days well.

"It was hard yakka," the 69-year-old said.

It is this sharing of stories and general camaraderie that is behind a push by Mr Crandon and others to form a Surf Veterans Committee as part of the Ballina surf lifesaving club.

The proposed committee would be open to anyone who was a surf lifesaver at any surf club.

Mr Crandon, who was living in Lismore when he was a patrolling member of the club in the late 1960s, said there was no "old boys" network locally for those who had been involved in surf lifesaving.

"It's about bringing blokes together who had a lot of enjoyment in being members of a surf club," he said.

"And it's about offering support to the existing club."

Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club captain Andrew Dougherty said the management committee of the club fully supported the formation of a veterans committee.

He said the new generations of surf lifesavers could benefit from the knowledge of the older guys.

Meeting tomorrow

A meeting will be held at the Ballina RSL Club tomorrow from 5.30pm for anyone interested in seeing the Veterans Surf Committee get off the ground.

For information, phone Richard Crandon on 0411 422 222 or Eoin Johnston on 0416 295 344.



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