Andrew “Henry” Kiss and Darren Kerr awarded Life Membership Matt Mahon, President

Life Membership of the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club is recognition that a member has demonstrated distinguished and sustained service to the Club. It is awarded from time to time when the Club’s committee and the Annual General Meeting of members believe it is warranted. At our recent Annual General Meeting, two of our most respected members, both great lifesavers in their own right, were awarded Life Membership of the Portsea

Life Member Sue Traynor addressed the meeting and provided an insightful background on Andrew “Henry” Kiss.

“Henry” has provided distinguished and sustained service to the Club for more than 33 years. Henry has for many, many years undertaken a role as a key educator in the Club, something which continues to this day. Arguably his greatest achievement in this area has been in establishing and sustaining the part-time Bronze course, which has provided an opportunity for many members to achieve their Bronze.

Henry has been a Patrol Captain for many years, as well as a mentor for other young leaders on the beach. He remains very active and committed to patrolling, beyond his rostered patrols. It is not uncommon that Henry is first to arrive and last to leave.

As well as his work with the Club, Henry has been actively involved in the lifesaving movement. Henry is an LSV Trainer/Assessor and an Examiner. He is also an LSV accredited Carnival official.

A keen sprinter and flags competitor, Henry has represented Portsea for many years competing at State, National and International level, one of only a few members to have attended a Word Masters Championship (in France). Henry was part of many successful Portsea beach teams as an Open competitor, winning medals at State Titles and being selected as part of the New Zealand Touring Team for Victoria. He won his first Gold Medal in Masters competition in 2000, and was still winning Gold Medals this year (2020).

Based on his contribution to Portsea, Henry was nominated for LSV’s John Wishart Award for Lifesaver of the Year and was a shortlisted finalist.

Our most recent Life Member and Past President Stuart Rayner spoke to Darren Kerr’s Life Membership, highlighting “Spot’s” many achievements.

Without doubt, Darren’s key contribution to the Club has been in his role as Event Director for the Portsea Swim Classic, which he relinquished following the 2020 edition. Darren took on the role after two years on the PSC Subcommittee, at which time the swim was far from the successful event that it is today. During this period he was responsible for:

  • Relocation of The Portsea Swim Classic from Weeroona Bay to Pt. Nepean National Park
  • Growing Swim Classic competitor numbers & revenue from $17K when he took on the role to approx. $150K at end to the position where the Portsea Swim Classic is the largest revenue stream to the club.
  • Introduction & implementation of Portsea Swim Classic Gold 2.5km which has sold out every year since inception.

Prior to taking on this role, Darren served on the Committee of the Club for three years, in the equipment director/powercraft officer role

In addition to these roles, Darren was part of the Subcommittee that re-established junior competition in 2014. He has served on that Subcommittee until recently, and has now turned his attention to the Senior/Youth Competition team subcommittee.

Outside of formal leadership roles, Darren has been a consistent contributor to Club life. A keen IRB driver, Darren competed in IRB’s for a number of seasons, collecting numerous pennants, state medals & championships & made finals at Australian Titles. He also competed in summer surf sports in his youth, and is now a regular Master’s competitor for the Club.

He has been part of the water safety team at PSC and P2P for more than 20 years and was part of the IRB team that serviced the Uncle Toby’s when it was conducted at Portsea.

Darren has patrolled continuously since 1990 when he joined the Club. During this period he was a patrol captain for 2 years & vice captain for 3 years. Darren has recorded 10+ years of 100% patrol attendance (including 9 years consecutive). He has recorded 60+ patrol hours per year over the last 3 years (on track this year until COVID-19 struck). Darren was also part of the Portsea professional lifeguard team for 4 years.

Darren performed resuscitation (CPR) on a casualty for 30+ minutes & was incident controller at a major incident following a Pt Leo carnival three years ago.

Coincidentally both Henry and Spot were part of the Portsea Masters Beach Relay team which won Gold at Master’s State Titles this year, and was recognised as the Masters Team of the Year at this year’s LSV Awards of Excellence.

We are a great Club which is the product of its many members. Recognising member contributions is important, and with the 11 Wall of Fame inductions earlier this year, our own Presentation Night Awards, and the LSV Awards of Excellence nominations, Portsea is demonstrating that member recognition is important.

Congratulations to all involved!