Volunteer profile: Darren McLeod ESM

Seaford SLSC President Darren McLeod was one of two long-standing Victorian volunteer members who was recognised with Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

Alongside Norman Farmer ESM – who was awarded Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division – Darren was awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for his dedicated and committed service to LSV, and to the safety of the community of Victoria, for more than 30 years.

Darren, who is also a member of Point Leo SLSC, Mount Martha LSC and a life member of Hampton LSC, has been a hands-on responder to emergencies since his early years.

He began as a patrolling lifesaver on the beach, and later took on roles within operations at LSV, most recently as Director of Lifesaving Operations.  Darren’s leadership in lifesaving operations saw him oversea response protocols and operational plans, as well as LSV’s response to critical incidents.

“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, of Darren’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

“He’s always been someone the younger lifesavers can both look up to and ask any questions, knowing he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with everyone,” LSV Manager Lifesaving Operations, Liam Krige said.

“He has provided dedicated and committed service to LSV, and to the safety of the Victorian community, for over 30 years.”

For Darren’s full citation visit: https://honours.pmc.gov.au/honours/awards/2006665

LSV recently caught up with Darren for a quick chat about LSV’s upcoming Lifesaving Capability and Resourcing Review (LCARR) being conducted by LSV’s research team, as well as a Q&A about his involvement in lifesaving over the years.

Darren said having been involved with lifesaving for so many years he was looking forward to the outcome of the LCARR, because of what it would mean to lifesaving in future.

“Over a long period of time there has been significant change in Government, our community culture, both in the makeup and the way of life within Victoria (and Australia),” he said.

“These changes have meant that there has been a requirement for LSV to review our capability and resourcing model in line with emerging risks and industry changes, to ensure we were able to adapt and deliver a more efficient and effective service to the Victorian community.

“While keeping in mind LSV’s mission to prevent aquatic related death and injury, this important review is being conducted by the LSV Risk and Research services team.

“I’m looking forward to the outcome of this review in the very near future.”


How long have you been involved in lifesaving and how did you get involved?          

I started Life Saving at Point Leo in early 1982. A friend of mine asked me if I’d like to join a club, which was Point Leo, I said yeah why not – here we are 38 years later.

What are some of your responsibilities at your club?     

I am currently the President of Seaford LSC; an active patrolling member, Club Management etc

What do you enjoy most about lifesaving?      

There are so many –  friendships; personal development; opportunities; a warm summers day or early evening just walking,swimming or standing in the shallows “chatting” with the members of the public – so rewarding

How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?            

From Nippers through to adults I encourage them to give it a go, and ‘promise’ that they’ll find it one of the most fun and rewarding things they do  – I haven’t been proven wrong yet !! 

What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?           

Along with being awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) as part of Queen’s Birthday Honours this year for dedication and commitment to lifesaving, another highlight was winning the Graeme Long Memorial Volunteer of the Year in 2013

When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?                  

Family, work – and lifesaving !!!

Current volunteer roles:           

President of Seaford LSC, LSV – State Duty Officer, Lifesaving Operation Officer – Kingston

Member of LSV Honours & Awards Committee

Member of LSV Awards of Excellence Committee                         

Previous volunteer roles:         

LSV Director Lifesaving Services

LSV State Emergency Management Officer

LSV State Communications Officer (plus a number of Club roles)

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