Published 22 November 2016

The Queen, as Patron of the Royal Life Saving Society, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Michael of Kent, as President, Royal Lifesaving Society, hosted a reception in Buckingham Palace to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Royal Life Saving Society.

Three of the Society’s most important honours were presented: the King Edward VII Cup, the Mountbatten Medal and the Russell Medal.

The King Edward VII Cup

Professor Pearn has given 40 years of sterling service to the Royal Life Saving Society, both in Australia and around the Commonwealth.

Professor Pearn became a member of the Royal Life Saving Society Australia in 1976. He is a highly regarded paediatrician and has made a lifelong contribution to researching the science of drowning prevention. Professor Pearn was appointed as RLSSA National Medical Advisor in 2002, and still holds this role today. He has been the RLSSA representative to the Australian Resuscitation Council since 2003, and also serves as the RLSSA representative to the ILS Medical Committee.

Professor Pearn is the holder of a number of lifesaving honours. He was awarded RLSSA’s Meritous Service Medal in 2001, and the Life Member Award in 2005.

In 2009, he received the Commonwealth Service Cross. Professor Pearn has presented at numerous domestic and international conferences including most recently the World Conference 2013 and the National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014. He serves as a mentor and inspiration to the Research and Leadership team in the Australia National Office.

The Mountbatten Medal

On Monday 23 February 2015, Zac Dominic, an RLSS award holder and lifeguard from St Lucia, was on lifeguard duty at La Toc Sandals Beach Resort.

Due to the rough seas and strong currents, the red flags were displayed and hotel guests were advised not to swim.

A group from Barre de I’sle were on the beach for the day. Several of the group repeatedly entered the water despite over 15 warnings over the course of the day from the lifeguards, who told them the water was too dangerous to swim in. At around Midday the police were called and told the group not to enter the water again for the rest of the day. The group unfortunately didn’t heed the warnings.

At approximately 4.10pm Zac saw 3 people in the water being dragged out to sea by a strong current. He called for assistance, ran down the beach and swam out to the men. By the time he reached them, one of the men had disappeared under the water so he grabbed the man closest to him whilst talking to the third man trying to calm him down. The casualty he was trying to assist was fighting and grabbing him but Zac continued trying to get him back to shore. At this point Zac became very tired and the current pulled him and the casualty under the water, at which point

Zac lost his grip on the casualty. He slid towards the ocean floor and Zac lost sight of him. When Zac resurfaced he assisted the third casualty and several moments later another lifeguard reached them on the kayak. Both lifeguards managed to get the casualty onto the kayak, at which point he was taken back to shore. Zac then had to swim back to shore as the kayak only held two people.

If it wasn’t for Zac’s actions, 3 people instead of two would have lost their lives that day.

The Russell Medal

At around 10.00pm on 4 th July 2015, Tyler Bailer, a 17-year- old RLSS trained lifeguard from Canada, was at home with his mother and stepfather. He heard his mother shout for him so he ran up the stairs to see his step-father David lying on the floor, not breathing. His mother had already called 911 so Tyler immediately started CPR. Tyler continued with CPR for about 6 minutes until the ambulance crew arrived. David had experienced a cardio-myopathy event (heart failure) and 4 EMTs had to work on him for 45 minutes before they got a steady pulse. The Emergency Room staff managed to stabilize David’s condition and transfer him to another hospital, and he has now fully recovered.

Many of the health professionals asked who had performed the initial CPR and commented on how skillfully he had administered it for the first time, especially on a family member and without any injury to the patient. He did, in fact, save his step-fathers life.

After the awards were presented, The Queen, also joined by The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent, met guests in the Picture Gallery. Earlier in the day many of the guests had received the 125th anniversary Certificate of Merit from Prince Michael of Kent in recognition of their voluntary contribution and achievements that have significantly impacted on the Society and its work, or how they have represented the Society in an exemplary way, in particular in the fields of sport, youth and drowning prevention.

Recipients are from member branches in Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, St Lucia and the United Kingdom.