2017 Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards

18 October 2017

Outstanding acts of bravery have once again been recognised, in the 2017 Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards. The Awards were handed out to 24 heroic individuals at the Government House Ballroom today, in the presence of WA Governor, Her Excellency The Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO. A further 7 awardees will receive their awards at a later date as they were unable to attend today's ceremony.

The Royal Life Saving Society WA accepts nominations for the Bravery Awards throughout the year, to identify and reward people in our community who have taken extraordinary actions to save another person’s life. This year we have acknowledged a wide variety of individuals, young and old, who have performed amazing acts including in water rescues both at home and abroad, and quick response first aid and CPR that has saved lives!

Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Leaversuch says each award recipient displayed exceptional courage, empathy and initiative by applying lifesaving skills in emergency situations and sometimes at risk to themselves. “The bravery and commitment of these individuals in saving lives is an excellent example to all Western Australians and deserves our highest recognition. It sends the strongest message possible about the importance of obtaining lifesaving skills."

The recent Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report revealed that almost half (43%) of WA’s drowning deaths occurred in the summer months during 2016/17. “As we approach another summer I encourage everyone to think about how they might, in their own way, make a contribution to drowning prevention, and saving lives. It may be to improve your own skills in CPR, first aid or rescue, to raise awareness amongst your family, friends or workplace, or to help someone in need. Everyone can be a lifesaver” Mr Leaversuch said.

Today's awardees included:

  • Joel Keeble, who at the age of 14 rescued his friend Ben Riebeseel who hit his head of the bottom of the pool while diving in during training at Peel Aquatic Swim Club.
  • Molly Coldwell, who performed CPR on Jim Ellis, who suffered a cardiac arrest while ordering coffee at the cafe where Molly works.
  • Taylia Ryan, who at the age of 14 rescued a 12 year old girl who drifted out across the Wellington Dam on an inflatable boat.
  • Colleen Clark, who saved her husband when he accidentally set himself alight while lighting the fire at their home, suffering severe burns in the process
  • Jade Macdonald, Rebecca Johnston, Mike Tindale, Matt Williams, Bob Edwards and David Davies, who all assisted Phil Prosser when he blacked out with chest pains while swimming at Craigie Leisure Centre
  • Finnley Regler, who at the age of 6 rescued his 3 year old brother Israel who had fallen into their Grandparents swimming pool.
  • Stanley McFarlane, who was 15 when he performed CPR on a woman who had collapsed outside his school, Christ Church Grammar.
  • Owen Pomfrett, who was 11 when he  rescued a three year old freind who'd got out of his depth in the river at Sandy Beach Reserve in Bassendean
  • Tyler Guefli, who at the age of 8 rescued a family friend, Dale, who was in trouble in a family member's home swimming pool.
  • Sarah Fuller, Anthony Dos Santos and Matthew Merritt, lifeguards who rescued a young girl who had drowned during an event at Altone Park Leisure Centre, saving her life.
  • Jesse Liddon, Sam Liddon and Jack Cox, who rescued the crew of a boat that had overturned in rough seas off the Abrolhos Islands.
  • Max Goldsmith, who performed first aid that kept his grandfather alive when he suffered an anaphylactic reaction to bee stings on the family property in Margaret River.
  • Jen Bannerman, who rescued a family who'd got trapped by rising river levels during a holiday at Maui in Hawaii.
  • James Annetts, Parris Laurie, Andrea Thackray and Tia Stonehill, lifeguards who rescued and performed CPR on 71 year old patron Ian Mitchell, who suffered a stroke while swimming at the Fremantle Leisure Centre, saving his life.

Royal Life Saving Society WA wishes to congratulate all of the deserving recipients who were awarded today, and thank them for the efforts they have made to save the life of another. We will share the full stories of their courageous acts over the course of the coming days and weeks.