Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club (BSLC) has honoured the life of Abby Johnston by launching the Abby Johnston Memorial Surf Rescue Fund.
Abby's mother Wendy Johnston formally launched the fund on the club lawns on Sunday with past and present BSLC members and coaches.
The Johnston family established the fund to support the development of young surf lifesavers through the BSLC’s Surf Rescue program over the next 10 years.
The fund involves an initial donation of $10,000 and will support a $300 bursary to be awarded to the recipients of the club’s male and female Surf Rescue Spirited Awards each year, as well as a further $400 per year to support the club’s surf rescue program.
BSLSC President Jason Pascoe said it was an amazing way for the club and community to celebrate Abby’s life and contribution to surf lifesaving.
“The Johnston family means so much to our club with Wendy, a club life member, and her children Abby and Brodie, making significant contributions to the club in both volunteer service and in surf competition, spanning almost two decades,” Jason said.
Abby was a committed member of the BSLC from age 6 to 18 where she competed in numerous events and became a professional lifeguard.
She was also successfully accepted into the Australian Navy as a medic and trainer/assessor where she used her skills and passion to excel in her role.
Wendy said the surf rescue component of lifesaving was one of the experiences they loved doing as a family and she said Abby particularly loved the teamwork opportunities and challenges.
“Abby’s successful navy career all started with this exposure right back as a nipper,” Wendy said.
“Her passion for emergency response only continued from there.
“Brodie and I see this award as a great way to support our club and members whilst establishing a legacy and honouring Abby…. after all this is where it all started.”
BSLC surf rescue coach Natalie Pascoe said the club was grateful for the generous donation which would support the development of young surf lifesavers for the next 10 years.
“It will be a wonderful way to remember such a bright spirit in Abby while honouring her memory and allowing for many other surf lifesavers to continue their education and development for many years to come,” Natalie said.