Beach safety and the development of volunteer lifesaving skills have been boosted following a donation of more than $27,000 to Goolwa Surf Life Saving Club (GSLSC).
The gift from Masonic Charities will help to save lives and has aided in the purchase of a new 4WD vehicle. It will be used to transport rescue equipment to volunteer GSLSC crews who patrol Goolwa Beach and Middleton, through to the Murray Mouth, between October and April.
This coincides with an extraordinary decade of growth for surf life saving on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Founded in 2010 with 26 members, GSLSC has now grown to more than 250 members and opened new state-of-the-art facilities in 2019.
GSLSC secretary Gavin Cousins said the club played an important role in the community and was continuing to develop future life savers.
"We try to develop the youth into the citizens and lifesavers of tomorrow. Many of our members continue their association with surf life saving over many years," Mr Cousins said.
"Our membership is wide and varying and from all walks of life, which contributes to our community. The road has been long for the club, as we have progressed from transportable huts to a five-bay shed and now to new modern club rooms, as we have continued to grow and expand."
The new 4WD purchased with $27,695 provided by Masonic Charities was urgently required to replace a 25-year-old model no longer fit for purpose. The GLX Club Cab from Victor Harbor Mitsubishi will be officially presented to the club on Friday, March 5 and is ready to patrol the beaches.
"The important piece of equipment will assist members of our club to provide lifesaving services across our community, ensuring that our patrol members can act quickly and decisively to save lives and provide first aid to members of the public," Mr Cousins said.
Masonic Charities - the major philanthropic arm of Freemasonry in SA and the NT - willingly responded to a request for assistance, considering the region patrolled by GSLSC can be one of the most hazardous stretches of coast in Australia.
The 2020-21 season had seen several dramatic rescues, including a 13-year-old boy who was close to drowning in rough surf off Goolwa Beach.
Grand Master of the Freemasons of SA and the NT Neil Jensen said the efforts of volunteer surf life savers should not be underestimated and acknowledged that the training offered by GSLSC to its volunteers and members provided them with transferable skills beyond lifesaving.
"Every dollar invested in a surf life saving club is estimated to return almost $30 in value to the local community," Dr Jensen said.
"For over 350 years, Freemasons have been investing in people: they matter and we care. We are all volunteers with the same desire to help our fellow mankind.
"Our organisation is pleased to show our respect and express our thanks in this tangible way to Surf Life Saving for its good work..."