Queen’s Birthday Honours series part 1: Norm Farmer AM, ESM

Two long-standing members of our lifesaving family were recognised with Queen’s Birthday Honours in June – Norman Farmer ESM and Darren McLeod.

“It’s always a proud moment when lifesavers are recognised in such prestigious honours and we were thrilled to have such esteemed colleagues as Norm and Darren being rightly recognised for their outstanding efforts,” said Paul James, LSV’s President.

Norm was awarded Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division, for significant service to lifesaving at the state, national and international level, and to water safety initiatives.

Darren McLeod was awarded the Emergency Services Medal for his dedicated and committed service to LSV, and to the safety of the community of Victoria, for more than 30 years.

For the first of this two-part series focused on the two Victorian lifesavers who received the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year, we focus on Norm’s story – LSV will feature a story on Darren in next month’s eNews.

The smiles worn by people who have just learnt to swim or save a life are the reason Norm has spent six decades dedicating himself to life saving at national and international levels and promoting water safety initiatives.

“I feel very proud to have had the special opportunity to help others, to learn from others and to help improve lives and livelihoods,” said Norm. “Not only in Australia, but in countries overseas where they do not have some of the benefits we enjoy in Australia.”

One of the highlights of his career has been being part of the leadership team that created Life Saving Victoria in the early 2000s, closely followed by leadership in improving swimming pool safety through pool safety guidelines, risk assessments and pool lifeguard training.

Among his current roles, Norm is Vice-President at the International Life Saving Federation, President, Asia Pacific Region and Executive Director of the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth.

“Drowning death is preventable. By providing the skills and knowledge and competencies, we can save lives,” said Norm. “We still have a long way to go, but without that training, education and guidance, the number of people that would drown would be so much more.”

Norm was born into lifesaving as his parents were both members of the Mentone Life Saving Club, although it wasn’t until his mid-teens that the strong interest in the movement developed, while he was at Mordialloc Life Saving Club.

As a child, Norm would go to the club and watch his father, the club secretary, while his mother fundraised for the tight-knit community.

“Thanks to my mum and dad for giving me the opportunity, the ethics and the wisdom to always try my best in following what I love doing,” said Norm, whose advice for the next generation of lifesavers is to, “strive to be the best in what you do and love, never stop learning, sharing and helping one another.”

Norm continues his involvement in lifesaving at club level with membership of the Mordialloc and Frankston LSCs.

He’s humbled by the Queen’s Birthday honour, but also thanks his family and fellow lifesavers for the many opportunities he has had over his time in lifesaving because, as he says, “We can never do this on our own.”

Well done Norm!

For Norm’s full citation visit: https://honours.pmc.gov.au/honours/awards/2007030

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