Pambula’s Donald Hay awarded for distinguished service in Surf Life Saving

WELL DESERVED: Pambula’s Donald Hay has received the highest level of recognition in the state for Surf Life Saving.
WELL DESERVED: Pambula’s Donald Hay has received the highest level of recognition in the state for Surf Life Saving.

Pambula’s Donald Hay has received the highest level of recognition in the state for Surf Life Saving.

Pambula Surf Life Saving Club invited the community to attend the official presentation which celebrated Mr Hay’s distinguished service in Surf Life Saving on January 26. 

He was presented a life membership to NSW Surf Lifesaving by CEO Steve Pearce and president Dave Murray.

Throughout almost four decades of involvement, Mr Hay has played key roles as surf club president and on-call duty officer and coordinator for the southern region.

He is also an RWC (jet ski) instructor and operator, and is a life member of Pambula SLSC and the Far South Coast Branch. 

“There are only a handful of duty officers on the Far South Coast, and Don is one of them,” Surf Life Saving Far South Coast branch president Tony Rettke said.

“He has been a backbone of Pambula surf club and the branch, he has been involved in all aspects from patrols to the sporting side, the after hours rescues – pretty much everything,” Mr Rettke said.

On average six state level life memberships are awarded each year, Mr Hay said he was honored to receive such an accolade in Surf Life Saving.

“The biggest thing for me on the day was how chuffed I felt to receive the award, to have the CEO and president of surf life saving NSW travel from Sydney to give it to me was absolutely fantastic,” Mr Hay said.

“It was wonderful to see so many people there who had made an effort to come after a general message was sent out to say it was happening,” he said.

More than 200 of Mr Hay’s family, friends and surf club members from club’s along the coast attended the presentation at Pambula surf club.

Mr Rettke said Mr Hay’s award was unquestionably well deserved.

“Don has done so much for so long, he has not just moved on in and then moved out – he has been very solid to Pambula the whole time,” Mr Rettke said.

“The biggest footprint Mr Hay has left at Pambula surf club is the clubhouse – a massive project which took about 14 years of his life to develop the design to the concept and get the project through the door.”

Throughout the 14-year process to see a new club built, Mr Hay served as project chairman, labourer, fundraiser, part-time project manager, and contractor liaison all while still performing his lifesaving roles.

“After I became very ill, I wanted to achieve something for the community and that was to get a new surf club built at Pambula,” Mr Hay said.

“It had been a difficult task to get the new club built,” he said,

“It took 5 years to find out whose land it was and where we could position it, it was a paper war, a bureaucratic nightmare.

“The club is truly a place for everyone, not just competitors.”