GREENMOUNT Beach Surf Life Saving Club bestowed a bronze medallion upon a former member that was long overdue on Thursday.
Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer was at the surf club to receive the medallion that he earned in 1973 when he was a member of the club doing morning patrols at Coolangatta Beach.
"I had a better body in those days," Mr Palmer said.
"I do float a lot better than I used to.
"It (bronze medallion) is something I did deserve because I did the work.
"I didn't get this because I am a billionaire; I got this because I put the effort in."
Mr Palmer did not receive the medallion at the time he was with the club because he refused to compete in a beach sprint competition.
About 100 people were at the presentation to hear Mr Palmer recount a memorable rescue that was never necessary.
Mr Palmer said he was the only surf lifesaver on patrol one morning when he noticed a Japanese swimmer waving, the would-be rescuer grab the board and roared in the water.
Despite the swimmer struggling with the rescuer, Mr Palmer managed to get the man to shore and started first aid before the swimmer's wife ran over and explain that he was only waving to the life saver from the water.
"While I may have finally got recognition for the bronze, I never got recognition for that rescue," Mr Palmer quipped.
Mr Palmer's life has moved on from the surf lifesaver and footballer he was in the early 1970s but he said he remembered fondly the surf life saving club and urged the Queensland Government to provider better front-line funding.
"How many people would come to the Gold Coast if 100 or 200 people died here each year," Mr Palmer asked.
"We have to make sure that we don't cut front-line services.
"I'm calling on Campbell Newman to support the surf life saving clubs just like this one."
The luncheon was a fundraiser to help the club raise money for a $3.5-million redevelopment.