November 26 - December 2, 2023: Issue 607


Mark Head Is Back On Patrol!

Mark Head is back at his beloved Avalon Beach. Photo: Roger Sayers OAM

Mark Head  was back on Patrol at Avalon Beach on Saturday morning, November 25 and welcomed home by all his fellow members at Avalon Beach SLSC, after a surf accident on September 16 2022 at south Avalon Beach.

Michael King, Director of Education, stated in the 2022-23 Avalon Beach SLSC annual report:

''The season started off on a sombre note with Mark Head’s accident at Avalon Beach in September. Mark has been an integral part of the training team for over five years. He became an Assessor last season and was an important part of our leadership group. Mark’s attitude and determination throughout his recovery journey has been a source of inspiration to the training team this season.''

Bernadette McKay, President at Avalon Beach SLSC stated in her report:

''Unfortunately, a Club member Mark Head was involved in a serious pre-season training accident. We are proud and thankful for the assistance provided by other members to affect a rescue and to all members that continue to support his recovery. This incident has left a lasting impression on all our members and emphasised why it is important that we remain proficient, continue to update our skills and create the strongest patrols so that we can be there when needed.

As a result of this incident, the Club is permanently leaving rescue boards on the beach at the Max Lookout North Avalon and at the fence opposite the Nipper canteen so that our response to an incident can be immediate. We have faith in our community understanding the intention being respected and we note that they have been used to assist people outside of patrol hours, which supports why we have done this. We will be working in the off season to reorganise the first aid room to make it easier to access rescue equipment and are currently exploring the installation of signal flags up on the southern headland to help raise attention to an incident.''

SLSA MERITORIOUS AWARDS were given to four Avalon Beach Surf Lifesavers and two local big wave surfers on Saturday night, November 4 2023, in recognition of their combined rescue of their fellow ABSLSC Surf Lifesaver who was brought back to life by them after drowning.

Avalon Beach SLSC members Michael Stanley-Jones, Andrew Clark, Stuart Cooper, and Lucas Molloy, along with Blaze Roberts and local surfers and friends Stuart Cooper and Karl Attkins carried out the rescue of Surf Club Trainer Mark Head.

More in: Surf Lifesaving Australia’s Awards of Excellence 2023: SLSA Meritorious Award for Avalon Beach Rescue

Mark has held the position of Registrar at the club, has been one of their great long term Trainers, equipping squad after squad of 'Bronzies' with the skills and knowledge to save lives.

At the 2019 Avalon Beach SLSC AGM he was awarded a NSW Government Premiers Volunteer Recognition for 40 years volunteering service. He was also awarded Avalon Beach SLSC's Steve Parkes Award for Achievement in Lifesaving Education that year.

Mark (centre with white shirt) with a new squad of Avalon Beach SLSC Bronze holders - April 2019. Photo: ABSLSC

In 2022 Mark received a SLS Long Service Award (30 years). 

Even during the quieter times he has worked to help others in the surf life saving movement. 

During 2018 he took part in the Beach To Bush Tour. SLS NSW records Tour 3: Young Region Lara Boyle (Whale Beach SLSC), Mike Stanley Jones (Avalon Beach SLSC), Mark Head (Avalon Beach SLSC).

Roger Sayers OAM, Life Member, Chair Club Heritage Committee, noted in his 2022-23 Heritage Committee report for Avalon Beach SLSC's Annua; Report:

''Over the last couple of years, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken by the Heritage Committee to catalogue the Club’s heritage items. Bob (Robert) Head, assisted by Mark Head, has been instrumental on this project...''

In fact, if he can do anything to help others in the surf life saving movement, he does it.

Mark is a loved member of the Avalon Beach community and was welcomed home on Saturday, after he'd finished his patrol, by a gathering of friends and family at the surf club.

Welcome home Mark! We've missed your cheeky smile and terrible stories - and can't wait for you to tell us some more.

Mark welcomed home by fellow ABSLSC Members on Saturday afternoon. Photos: Roger Sayers OAM