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Gibraltar in 125th anniversary of the Royal Life Saving Society

Gibraltar Royal Life Saving Society President, Norbert Sene attended a week of events to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Commonwealth-wide Royal Life Saving Society.

His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent chaired a Commonwealth Council meeting and attended an evening reception hosted by RLSS UK Patron, Lord Norrie. The Society was also treated to a reception hosted by Sir Lockwood Smith, New Zealand High Commissioner, at New Zealand House.

The Royal Life Saving Society was formed in England in 1891 and the week saw delegates from many of the Society’s 27 Commonwealth Member Branches make the trip to London to celebrate alongside friends, colleagues, and RLSS Commonwealth President, HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

Mr Sene said the week proved to be a fantastic opportunity for members from around the Commonwealth to get together and meet each other perhaps for the first time, and learn from each other about how drowning prevention operates on a global scale.

“It also gave us all the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Society and, importantly, plan the future of the organisation in an ever-changing world.”

Mr Sene gave a presentation on the history and development of beach lifeguarding in Gibraltar. The conference also heard other presentations on subjects as varied as RLSS New Zealand’s way of revitalising itself after the devastating earthquake in 2011 which destroyed the branch’s headquarters in Christchurch; how RLSS UK managed to get drowning prevention on the political agenda; what happens to your body when it enters cold water; aligning drowning prevention with the UN’s sustainable development goals; along with several other interesting presentations.

They were joined by partners and friends from organisations working with the Society, along with officers from High Commissions in London for a packed programme of conference sessions, meetings, receptions, tours and dinners.

The last full day of events included a tour on a historic London Routemaster bus, taking in key landmarks in the society’s history, including the home of founder William Henry in Bayley Street – which was also the Society’s first headquarters – and ending at Highgate Ponds on Hampstead Heath where many of the lifeguarding techniques used today were first developed.

Celebrations continued with an Anniversary Dinner held at Greenwich.

Commenting on the week, Gibraltar RLSS President Norbert Sene said: “The week was a fantastic opportunity for members from around the Commonwealth to get together and meet each other perhaps for the first time, and learn from each other about how drowning prevention operates on a global scale. It also gave us all the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Society and, importantly, plan the future of the organisation in an ever-changing world."