RLSSWA President Ross Peters to receive prestigious international award

26 October 2016

The Royal Life Saving Society celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year, and WA President Ross Peters will travel to London next month to receive a special award as part of the celebrations.

Royal Life Saving Society President, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, will present special edition Certificate of Merit awards to individuals whose voluntary contribution and achievements have significantly impacted on the Society and its work - or who have represent the Society in an exemplary way, in particular in the fields of sport, youth and drowning prevention.

Ross Peters, who is currently a Senior Contracts Manager at VenuesWest working on the Perth Stadium project, has been involved with Royal Life Saving Society WA for over 25 years, through his work in the aquatics industry as lifeguard, duty manager and manager at both the Challenge Stadium and Belmont Oasis aquatic centres. He became a member of the board of directors in 1998, before taking on the role of President in 2005.

Mr Peters says his desire to become involved on the board of Royal Life Saving Society WA came from both professional and personal motivations. “I enjoyed a strong relationship with RLSSWA during my early career in the aquatics industry and was keen to maintain that relationship after moving into venue and event management in 1998. In the same year I became a parent for the first time and my awareness of the importance of water safety for toddlers intensified so I took on an advocacy role among the other first time parents we mixed with.”

During his more than 10 years of continuous service as President of Royal Life Saving Society WA Mr Peters has provided exemplary leadership and guided the Society through some important changes.

Some of his highlight contributions include:

  • Facilitating the development of the RLSSWA Strategic Direction document (4 yearly) which has led to the establishment of risk management services, vocational training, research and health promotion departments.
  • Establishing the WA Honours and Awards Committee, which recognizes the contribution of members, and those in the general community, involved in drowning prevention and life saving.
  • Establishing a range of services to support victims of non-fatal drowning and their families.
  • Directly contributing to the successful management of 6 Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools in the State's north-west, which provide a range of physical activity, health, education and community development benefits for those involved. 
When Mr Peters began in the role of President the average annual drowning rate in WA was 44.8 per annum, but since then the rate has steadily declined and is now 29.6 drownings per annum, meaning 15 lives are being saved every year.

His greatest hope is to see this impact on the community continue. “I want to see the organization continue to make a difference to a diverse number of Western Australian’s lives, increasing its capacity to improve and enhance this, but without compromising its strong core values and culture. We have a proud history and an exciting future!”

Mr Peters says it’s an absolute honour to be receiving such a prestigious award. “Being nominated for this award is truly the most significant recognition I have ever received; it is extremely fulfilling. I feel humbled, proud, excited, grateful, and also very fortunate. Royal Life Saving’s association with HRH Queen Elizabeth II as our Commonwealth Patron gives these awards extra significance and profile, and as such they are accepted with great regard for the award and honour and respect towards the organization.”

Another valued Royal Life Saving Society WA Life Member, Greg McLennan, is also receiving a Certificate of Merit at the event. We'll be sharing his story soon!

The awards will be presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent in November, during a special reception at Buckingham Palace.