David Thompson awarded for services to lifesaving
Umina resident Mr David Thompson has received an Order of Australia Medal in the 2019 Australia Day Honours list.
Mr Thompson received his award for significant services to surf lifesaving at the local, state, national and international levels.
Mr Thompson first became involved in surf lifesaving in 1977 after moving to the Peninsula from Mt Druitt.
At age 13, he joined Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
Mr Thompson would go on to be involved in surf lifesaving at all levels over more than four decades, but he still counts his presidency at Ocean Beach amongst the highlights of his career.
Mr Thompson spent his teen years at Ocean Beach and quickly grew to become a stalwart of the club, holding various roles including club captain.
In 1986 he was elected president, a role he relished.
As he grew so too did his interest in surf lifesaving.
During his time as Ocean Beach club president, Mr Thompson also became involved with Surf Life Saving Central Coast, the region's peak body for surf lifesaving.
Keenly interested in developing the region's surf sport scene, Mr Thompson became a competition official for Surf Life Saving Central Coast and slowly began working his way up the management ranks.
He held several positions with Surf Life Saving Central Coast throughout the 1980s and 1990s while still juggling his duties at Ocean Beach.
In 1997, Mr Thompson became deputy president of Surf Life Saving Central Coast, a role which would see him then move into the sports peak management body for the state, Surf Life Saving NSW.
Mr Thompson became Surf Life Saving NSW's director of surf sports in 1998.
His time with Surf Life Saving NSW would see Mr Thompson again hold several positions over 15 years, including being a member of the surf sports event management committee, chairman of the championship organising panel and a state selector.
By 2003, Mr Thompson was named the chairman of Surf Life Saving Australia's board of surf sports, meaning in the span of 17 years Mr Thompson had gone from president of his local club to a board member of the country's peak governing authority for surf lifesaving.
Mr Thompson would spend 10 years working with Surf Life Saving Australia, several of these as chairman of the board of surf sports and in other roles such chairman for the Australian Championships event management committee.
During this time Mr Thompson also joined the International Lifesaving Federation for which he has served as sports commissioner since 2008 until present day.
When asked about why he decided to dedicate his life to surf lifesaving, Mr Thompson said he couldn't remember a time when he didn't love the sport.
"I love what surf lifesaving teaches people," Mr Thompson said.
"For me surf lifesaving is like an extended family.
"I've made many lifelong friends and I've always admired both the character building and life skills taught through surf lifesaving," he continued.
"Surf lifesaving is a community and for me it was always a way to give back to my community.
"As I moved up the ladder in the sport, it was always a great pleasure to see people achieve their goals.
"Being able to contribute to that in some capacity, whether as an official or as the director of surf sports meant a great deal to me.
"It was my way of being able to help people achieve their goals whilst achieving my goal of helping to improve surf lifesaving," Mr Thompson said.
To this day Mr Thompson is still involved in Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
He serves as a member of various club committees including its centenary and distinguished honours committee.
"I think the future of surf lifesaving on the Peninsula is in very good hands," Mr Thompson said.
"I have enjoyed watching Umina's club grow into the strong club that it is and I am very proud to be a part of the Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club, the Coast's oldest and most consistent surf club.
"A big part of surf lifesaving's success on the Peninsula has been the support of our business community and local residents for which we are very grateful," he said.
Media release, 21 Jan 2019
Kaye Browning, Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat
Interview, 23 Jan 2019
David Thompson, Umina
Reporter, Dilon Luke