RLSS members honoured by Queen at London reception

Queen Elizabeth II during a reception held for the Royal Life Saving Society at Buckingham Palace, London.

Three outstanding members of the Royal Life Saving Society were honoured by our Patron, HM The Queen, at a Buckingham Palace evening reception on October 22nd. In addition, recipients of the specially-issued HRH Prince Michael of Kent 125th anniversary Certificate of Merit were presented with their certificates by our President, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, at a ceremony earlier in the day.

Her Majesty presented three of the Society’s highest awards: the King Edward VII Cup, the Mountbatten Medal and the Russell Medal to three members who had each demonstrated exceptional service to the RLSS and to the cause of drowning prevention in the Commonwealth.

King Edward VII Cup

The King Edward VII cup, presented in recognition of an outstanding contribution to lifesaving, was presented to Professor John Pearn AO, RFD, who has given 40 years of sterling service to the Royal Life Saving Society in Australia and around the Commonwealth over the last 40 years. A highly regarded paediatrician, he 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 Meritorious Service Medal in 2001, and the Life Member Award in 2005. In 2009, he received the Commonwealth Service Cross. He 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 Russell Medal

The Russell Medal is awarded in memory of Pat Russell to an RLSS-trained person aged 18 years or younger who has carried out the most outstanding resuscitation or attempted resuscitation of a person. Her Majesty presented the medal to Tyler Bailer from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. In July 2015 Tyler used his lifesaving skills to perform CPR on his stepfather, David, who had stopped breathing, continuing for six minutes until the ambulance arrived. Thankfully, hospital staff managed to stabilise David and commented that Tyler’s expert attempts at CPR had undoubtedly helped save his stepfather’s life.

Speaking after the ceremony, Tyler commented that, “I just did what I had to do,” but encouraged others to take up CPR training as, “you’ll never know when you might need it.”

The Mountbatten Medal

The Mountbatten Medal is awarded in recognition of the most gallant rescue or attempted rescue by an RLSS-trained person from the Commonwealth. IT was awarded to Zac Dominique from St Lucia, an RLSS award holder and lifeguard at the La Toc Sandals Beach Resort, for a brave attempt to save the life of three people who, despite warnings that the sea was dangerous for bathing, had entered the water and were and were being dragged out to sea by a strong current. With no thought for his own safety, Zac raised the alarm and swam into the water to save the men. Unfortunately, conditions were such that two of them drowned, but Zac managed to save the life of the third man before swimming back to shore.

In honour of his achievements, Zac’s employers covered his expenses for the trip to London.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent 125th Anniversary Certificate of Achievement

In an earlier ceremony, RLSS President HRH Prince Michael of Kent presented a special 125th anniversary edition of his Certificate of Merit to 125 members who were nominated by their colleagues and friends for their outstanding contribution to the Society. The ceremony was hosted at the Royal Over-Seas League in London and attended by the recipients and proud family members, who also attended the later reception with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace.

The full set of photographs from the event can be found on our Flickr page.

Once again, we are grateful for the support of our Patron and President for hosting the events in London and for the valuable role they play in raising awareness of the Society and our work around the Commonwealth.