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Bravery award for courageous duoPosted in College Community on Wednesday, 10 May, 2017

Two members of the Mandurah Catholic College community have received awards from the State Premier, Mark McGowan, for selfless acts of bravery at a local beach last year.

Year 11 student, April McPherson and Director of Sport, Mr Nick Jenkins, were presented with silver medallions for bravery by Surf Life Saving Western Australia at a ceremony in Perth on Friday.

The silver medallion is presented to persons who have performed a conspicuous and selfless act of bravery on the West Australian coast. April and Mr Jenkins were among a band of surfers who assisted with the rescue, resuscitation and first aid treatment of Ben Gerring, after he was attacked by a shark at Gearies Beach. Tragically, Mr Gerring did not survive.

Speaking after the emotional presentation, Mr Jenkins praised April, a State surfing champion, for her courageous efforts. “April was the only girl in the water and the bravery she showed in the water and during the whole ordeal, dealing with it, is amazing.  April is a great ambassador for female surfing, especially in our local area, because she’s such a great girl and a great role model.

“The way April handled herself on the day, and following on after the incident, was above and beyond what you would expect a 15-year old to do,” he said.

An endorsed first aid trainer, Mr Jenkins administered resuscitation and first aid, and coordinated the team of fellow surfers offering to assist, before paramedics arrived at the scene.

Last week’s ceremony was the launch of  SLSWA’s Coastal Bravery Awards, which were established to recognise members of the community who have exhibited outstanding courage and put their own lives at risk on our coast for the sake of others.

In 2001, Mr Jenkins received a Commendation for Brave Conduct from the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, in recognition of his rescue of a surfer at Secret Harbour the previous year. In squally 3-metre waves, Mr Jenkins paddled for more than a kilometre out to sea to rescue a young man who had been swept away after being caught in a rip. Guided by a rescue aircraft, Mr Jenkins located the stranded surfer, pulled him onto his surfboard and headed back through the strong rip. The two eventually reached the shore three kilometres south of where Mr Jenkins first started his rescue effort.