Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy confirmed the appointment of HSH Princess Charlene as Patron of Lifesaving South Africa (LSA), at an event held on Wednesday, July 26 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Umhlanga, Durban.
“It is a great honour for me to be named Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organisation that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by,” Princess Charlene told Monaco Life. “Lifesaving South Africa’s commitment to drowning prevention is remarkable and the spirit of volunteering that you are instilling in our young people is infectious.”
Having dedicated 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the Princes added, “During those years, I learned the importance of discipline, team spirit, dedication and respect for the water, oneself and others; values that I know LSA lifeguards appreciate and demonstrate every day.”
The official patronage was presented yesterday in Durban by Dylan Tommy, President of Lifesaving South Africa, to Gareth Wittstock on behalf of HSH Princess Charlene, and also included Mr Gavin Varejes, President of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa.
The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation was established in 2012 and has since reached over 300,000 people worldwide, with operations being established here in South Africa in 2013.
The work of the Foundation is internationally acknowledged and celebrated for raising public awareness about the dangers of water, teaching children essential water safety skills and how to swim.
A fine example of this was the first Riviera Water Bike Challenge, hosted by the Princess in June 2017, which highlighted the Monaco community coming together through sport to raise awareness and money for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
The partnership between the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa and Lifesaving South Africa will strengthen the promotion of water safety and support “learn to swim” projects in South Africa.
200 rescue boards donated to Foundation
LSA’s Watersmart program is a classroom based educational water safety program developed to complement the current Grade 4 Life Skills curriculum. The program, presented by Lifesaving SA Watersmart facilitators will, during the course of 2017, be delivered free of charge to over 80 schools nationwide.
Gavin Varejes, President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, also announced the distribution of 200 rescue boards, valued in excess of 2 million rand (€132,000) from the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA to Lifesaving SA, with thanks to Cell C and Richmark Holdings. This will see every LSA affiliated lifesaving club in South Africa receiving rescue boards to continue their critical service to the community.
Mr Varejes, known for his generosity and support of the SA Surfing Legends and President of SA Rugby Legends as well as his involvement with the South Africa-Monaco Rugby Exchange, said, “The new partnership will hopefully continue to encourage different sporting codes to work together and form the bonds, strengths and partnerships that make such a wonderful difference in our country”.
Doug Mattheus, Head of Marketing at Cell C, commented, “Cell C endorses this initiative in growing an awareness around water safety in South Africa and deems it a great privilege to be associated with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA”,
Sending a message to corporate South Africa: get involved with saving lives
Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy and SASCOC President Gideon Sam both expressed gratitude to Princess Charlene and Mr Varejes for their contribution to raising the profile of Lifesaving in South Africa, on a social level and as well as a sport.
Mr Tommy noted, “We are extremely grateful to HSH Princess Charlene for agreeing to serve as the Patron for Lifesaving South Africa. With the Princess as our Patron and the partnership we have established with The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, we will be able to achieve far greater success in our fight against drowning in South Africa.”
In 2017, Continental Tyre SA committed to a three-year investment and sponsorship of Lifesaving SA, and its Product Communications Manager Ryan Visagie applauded the contributions of Varejes and corporate heavyweights Richmark and Cell C.
“It sends a great message to corporate South Africa to get involved with saving lives. You can’t put a price on saving a life and it’s fantastic to see the investment in Lifesaving as a result of the partnership with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA,” said Ryan Visagie, Continental Tyre SA.
SASCOC president Gideon Sam described Princess Charlene as “an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African”, adding, “It was noted that the Princess gives so much to the country she grew up in, but also so importantly to the serious issue of water safety and water education.”
Article first published July 27, 2017.