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June 9, 2023

Far north coast lifesavers shine at state awards

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Matilda Shirley was named Junior female lifesaver of the year. (supplied)
Matilda Shirley was named Junior female lifesaver of the year. (supplied)

Matilda Shirley of Byron Bay and Jai Sheridan, who was a casual Life Guard supervisor at Byron and Ballina last season, have taken out top honours at a state awards ceremony.

The pair were honoured at the Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Sydney on Saturday.

Matilda was named Female Junior Lifesaver of the Year after excelling at a leadership camp in April for those in their final year of Nippers.

‘I’m just so honoured to represent my club and branch and to do everyone proud who I hold dear. It’s just an amazing moment,’ she said.

The young Far North Coast lifesaver has certainly covered plenty of distance in her time in Surf Life Saving having started her career as a U6 Nipper in Broome, Western Australia before moving to Brisbane.

Jai Sheridan was named Life Guard of the Year. (supplied)
Jai Sheridan was named Life Guard of the Year. (supplied)

Jai Sheridan was named the NSW Lifeguard of the Year, with the 19-year-old being an employee of the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) over the last three summers.

Last season his leadership potential was formally recognised as he stepped up to undertake a casual role as Supervisor for the Byron/Ballina area and he was involved in a number of rescues most notably he assisted in the safe return of five swimmers who had got into difficulty in a powerful rip off Lennox Head.

‘I’m really honoured to receive this award. It does get hectic over summer with the beaches getting packed and so many events such as Fall Festival and New Year’s celebrations so it does get full on but we have a really good team up here,’Mr Sheridan said.

Over 300 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathered at Sydney’s iconic The Hilton Hotel to celebrate the season that was.


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