What’s your full name? Paul Fownes
How did you get the nickname of Stretch? My bronze medallion trainer Greg Dovey tagged me with the nickname during Bronze and it stuck.
What’s your current position in the club? Club President
How long have you been President for? 16 years
When did you first join? 1986
So Stretch can you tell us about your lifesaving journey? I was a student at Marist Pagewood when we carried out what they called ‘Activities’ for year 10 students at South Maroubra SLSC. A few friends from my school joined the club shortly after that initial exposure, I joined them a few years after that. I was a pretty decent swimmer in those days, loved the surf, so doing my Bronze with Greg and John Park as my Bronze trainers was fun and pretty straight forward. Just before or after joining South Maroubra I was also accepted into the NSW Police Force where I currently remain. I competed 30 years of Surf Patrols but took up long service to concentrate on making the club as good as it could be.
What positions have you held in the club? Well I just wanted to be a patrolling member but was promoted to Patrol Captain after 4 or 5 years which I enjoyed. Bernie Kelly LM had other plans for me and after 8 or so years I was promoted to Vice Club Captain and then a year or two later Club Captain now known as Director of Lifesaving. I also loved being a Bronze trainer and encourage others to take those positions on, they’re so rewarding.
Any highlights? Absolutely, how much time do you have? In no particular order, the camaraderie, I love the stability compared to other clubs, the many major fundraising events we have been able to deliver including numerous State Titles, Nutri Grain Carnivals etc, the connection with community, great and life long friendships, seeing the club house transform from a 1980’s building in need of repair to something we can build our future on. I’ve enjoyed seeing the club grow in all areas, enjoyed seeing us achieve some financial stability and able to assist all areas of the club. I’ve enjoyed developing relationships with all tiers of government, enjoyed meeting club sponsors and hopefully providing them with a rich return on investment. I enjoy helping out other struggling entities such as the Clontarf Foundation, seeing nippers get access to a rich experience in Surf Awareness whilst their parents enjoy the social aspect of the club and what it has to offer. There so much more and I just believe we are a good working class club with a great future providing we continue to understand where we have come from, appreciate the hard work of what we have today and where we’d like to be at in the next 5 to 10 years.
What does the future hold and any advice to fellow members? We got so many wonderful members, there is something for everyone so please support us in some way! Big thank you to all of our wonderful Life Members many of whom continue to give back to our club after 30, 40, 50+ years of membership. To aspiring future leaders, it was never my intention to be President, things just happened and I found myself in that position. I’d like to think I’ve done my very best without ulterior motives or distraction for the benefit of the broader membership and community. As for how much long, well if the members are satisfied with my service, I’d like to keep the club growing, stable and strong and whilst President deliver on what I believe will be the most important development since our forefathers opened the original club in 1959. I’ve loved the journey so far and look forward to an exciting united future.
So much is going on at the moment – it’s full on and exciting but much to pass onto you or seek help from you.
· NIPPERS - After a wet and wild start to the Patrol Season, this Saturday and Sunday will see the return of Australia’s largest Nipper Club with something in the order of 1100 kids. Exciting but these number mean we’ll certainly be looking for more help plus please consider parking arrangements as it will be tight! Can you help with some sponsorship from you or a company you might have affiliation with? Water safety? mums and dads starting their Bronze Medallion in order to jump in the water with the kids - it's really rewarding learning new life skills and great for general fitness. If you’d like to know more fire us an email [email protected]
· FUNDRAISER - Sunday 11.30am to 5pm, 29th January 2023 we will be conducting our annual Sportspersons Day. I’m now reaching out to YOU to help me identify some quality speakers. They can be actors or actresses, TV personalities, current or past sportsmen and women, speakers that will fascinate an audience with their story! If you could get back to me with a suggestion or two, we’d be super stoked! Simply email [email protected]
· INTERUPTION/DANGER - Work has started! After many years, I’m pleased to advise the new amenities block work adjacent to the club is now up underway. Monday to Saturday for approximately 12 months. There will be some minor interruptions to club business throughout these works. We will keep members posted via social media so please monitor and more importantly with nippers and children please exercise supervision and care.
· SOCIAL MEDIA – How exciting that South Maroubra SLSC has been rated the third most watched Surf Club Facebook site in Australia. If you haven’t joined us, then please do so! For new Nipper families joining us, Nippers also has their own site where vital information is passed on. Wet weather cancellations are also communicated via this forum so it’s in your interest to jump onboard. Club information, history, newsletters and annual reports, club hire information for special events and so much more can all be found on our impressive website at www.southmaroubrasurfclub.com.au
· GETTING TO KNOW US – We’re introducing a new column in this month’s newsletter named ‘Meet the Team' column where each month one of our Club Leaders will be featured starting with yours truly! Take a moment to have a read so you know a little about those who lead your club.
· WHAT'S NEW – Over the last 4 weeks we’ve now installed and will soon be using an additional Nipper storage space in the form of a shipping container. This is to cater for Australia’s biggest nippers and their gear. Our Nipper sponsors are located on the side of the container, we welcome others! Last week we also upgraded the club entry with a privacy screen to temporarily store items awaiting pick up. More work to be done but looks great!
· WEDDING and NIPPER SEASON – Could I respectfully ask our great young members to play their ball games on the sand or if necessary, the southern grass area and not the grass in front of the club. We have nipper families looking forward to enjoying the grass space plus wedding season for upstairs relies upon decent looking and condition grass. Also, we ask members to wash off before entering the club using the public showers.
· THIS SUNDAY YOU'RE INVITED – To celebrate the start of Nippers we will be officially opening the club bar to Social Sunday’s 10.45am to 5pm, Mick’s Kiosk opens and Coffees are available now from the bar. This Sunday we will be providing LIVE MUSIC from 11am to 2pm so be sure to come down and enjoy what will be a wonderful day of fun and action. Family members and community are ALL invited.
· OCTOBERFEST CANCELLATION – A few people have asked about OCTOBERFEST. Regrettably, the renamed event, now called SOUTH MAROUBRA COMMUNITY FESTIVAL and FUN RUN has had to be cancelled due to Insurance issues. Next year for sure!
Look forward to seeing you Sunday so lets make it a BIG start to the season.
Paul ‘Stretch’ Fownes APM OAM
The club has in the past provided members and /or equipment to assist with NSW Flood Relief as and when required and we acknowledged and recognised these members in the annual report last season.
As you are aware the relentless weather recently has resulted in more flooding around NSW. We have been made aware that SLSNSW are making direct email contact to members within Surf clubs for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to assist as and when required.
We ask our members of South Maroubra, to please advise our Director of Lifesaving Nicole by email if you are contacted to EOI and are actually deployed to assist on any occasion. We will need to co-ordinate any equipment deployment (if required) and wish to be aware of our members assisting so we can minute your participation and record it for member recognition in annual report etc.
Your co-operation with keeping the Board of Management in the loop via Director of Lifesaving would be greatly appreciated.
Our understanding is the most recent emails from SLSNSW are for personnel only and not club equipment. However, if ever club equipment is requested for this purpose, the club is to be advised of this and must give approval.
E: [email protected]
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