Kind folk awarded for help on ocean

WELL-DESERVED HONOUR: Local marine rescue volunteers Syl Reid, Pam Ditton, Joy Taylor and Len Hughes receive their awards from MP Justine Elliot.
WELL-DESERVED HONOUR: Local marine rescue volunteers Syl Reid, Pam Ditton, Joy Taylor and Len Hughes receive their awards from MP Justine Elliot. Christian Morrow

THERE are some people who turn up over and over again in Byron Shire volunteer organisations, working hard for our community.

Four of these generous souls - Joy Taylor, Pam Ditton, Len Hughes and Rodney (Syl) Reid - all members of the Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW at Cape Byron, were recognised last week, receiving National Medals in recognition of their long and diligent service to the organisation.

Pam Ditton began volunteering in April 2000 and trains team members on new procedures and carries out regular radio shifts.

Len Hughes joined in 2004, before health issues forced his retirement in 2015.

Syl Reid joined the Volunteer Coastal Patrol in 1997 and continues as watch officer and rescue controller

He is also a life member of both the Byron and Ballina cricket clubs and swim secretary of the Byron Bay Winter Whales.

Joy Fletcher volunteers at Byron District Hospital, the Lions Club Driver Reviver and the the Anglican Op Shop, alongside her work at marine rescue.

Joy doesn't jump out of helicopters or rappel down cliffs. She is mainly involved in fundraising - one of the most vital roles in any volunteer organisation.

"It's just about giving back to the community for all the things I have received after living here all my life,” she said.

Local MP Justine Elliot, during a ceremony at the Byron Lighthouse, said it was an honour to present the awards.

"These volunteers have 60 years of service between them keeping the local boating and surfing community safe,” Mrs Elliot said.

"As a former police officer, I know how valuable and sometimes difficult their work can be and it's important to recognise they are giving up their free time to look after us all.

"I understand they have just 14 active members here at Cape Byron at present, so they are looking for members and I would encourage people to get involved.

"Here on the north coast we have a high proportion of people who do give of their time, and it's often the same people in several organisations.

"There is a real spirit of co-operation and a desire to help others that makes this such a great community.”

Robert Asquith, deputy commander of the local marine rescue, agreed the medals were a well-deserved recognition of the group's service to the community.

For more about the local marine rescue, phone 6680 8417.

Topics:  cape byron lighthouse justine elliot marine rescue nsw

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