Suffolk needs more trainee lifesavers
SWIMMING: Could you be Suffolk's next potential lifesaver?Pools across the county have regularly been setting aside time for trainee lifesavers week on week for years, but now – according to the instructors – lack of attendance is putting the pursuit at risk.
By Debbie Watson
COULD you be Suffolk's next potential lifesaver?
Pools across the county have regularly been setting aside time for trainee lifesavers week on week for years, but now – according to the instructors – lack of attendance is putting the pursuit at risk.
Over recent months the region's designated lifesaving clubs have noticed a down-turn in the number of new recruits coming through and now they're calling on youngsters to give them a look.
Annett Thompson is an instructor for the Woodbridge-based club and is also a representative for the Suffolk branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society.
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She is anxious to see an increase in new lifesavers coming through the ranks locally.
"All the clubs in Suffolk seem to be suffering at the moment and we want to get the attendance up across the board," she said.
"As a sport, we're not alone in having this sort of problem. It's a side-effect of being in a society where there is just so much for young people to do."
However, living as we do on the coastline, there could barely be any stronger reason for youngsters to take up the lifesaving challenge.
Clubs in this area start with sessions for the very young Rookies and then work up toward qualifications which enable elder club members to get the certification they need in order to work at local pools.
"We start by taking the Rookies between the ages of ten and 13," said Annett.
"The emphasis at this stage is very much on fun. Then we can work towards the bronze medallion for anyone who is 14 and that means that teenagers then have the qualification they need if they want to be a lifeguard at their local swimming pool.
"It's a great activity for fitness and for fun, but it's also teaching people some very valuable skills."
She added: "Despite the success of lifesaving clubs in drowning prevention and water rescue, thousands more lives could be saved every year if every citizen knew how to give life support in other emergency situations.
"All ages are welcome. You are never too old or young to gain confidence in the water."
The following clubs are in operations around Suffolk:
Hadleigh Lifesaving Club: Hadleigh Swimming Pool.
Ipswich Lifesaving Club: Fore Street Swimming Pool.
St Edmundsbury Life Saving Club: Bury Leisure Centre Pool.
Sudbury Life Saving Club: Kingfisher Leisure Centre Pool.
Waveney Lifesaving Club: Waveney Swimming Pool.
Deben Lifesaving Club: Deben Swimming Pool.
For more information about any of these clubs and their sessions, call Annett on 01473 682485.