Jim picks up Royal award for life saving work

Jim McCurry (left) receives the 125th Anniversary Certificate of Merit from HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Commonwealth President of the Royal Life Saving Society.
Jim McCurry (left) receives the 125th Anniversary Certificate of Merit from HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Commonwealth President of the Royal Life Saving Society.

A Lagan Valley LeisurePlex employee has been honoured by HRH Prince Michael of Kent for his contribution to the valuable work of the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS).

Jim McCurry, who is a long-standing member of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RLSS, attended the organisation’s recent 125th anniversary celebration at the Royal Over-Seas League where 125 members of the society were presented with the HRH Prince Michael of Kent 125th Anniversary Certificate of Merit.

His Royal Highness is the Commonwealth President of the RLSS and approved the special anniversary edition of his Certificate of Merit. The award is made to individuals whose voluntary contribution and achievements have significantly impacted on the society and its work, or have represented the society in an exemplary way, in particular in the fields of sport, youth and drowning prevention.

Jim has been involved with the RLSS since the 1970’s when he first became a lifeguard at the Grove Baths in Belfast, and he has now progressed to the position of Sports Programme Manager at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. He is currently a RLSS National Trainer Assessor and is one of the most active volunteers in the NI Branch with regards to lifesaving, lifeguarding and in particular drowning prevention and community life support.

The NI Branch has for many years been responsible for some of the highest number of RLSS awards in the UK and this is in no small way due to the commitment and time that Jim and others have given to promoting drowning prevention here.

Jim’s achievement is all the more remarkable due to the fact that he suffered from Polio as a child and so was directed towards lifesaving and swimming as a teenager to increase his strength, not knowing then that it was going to become a major passion in his life and his chosen career in the leisure industry.

Recipients of the Certificate of Merit came from countries including the UK, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and St Lucia. Jim was the only person from Northern Ireland to receive the award.

As part of the anniversary celebration, society members also attended a special reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Michael of Kent.

A volunteer organisation, The Royal Life Saving Society is dedicated to the prevention of drowning and was established in England in 1891. The RLSS has independent, self-governing branches active in 27 Commonwealth countries.