Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy confirmed the appointment of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco as Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, at an event held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Umhlanga, Durban on Wednesday 26th July 2017.
“It is a great honour for me to be named Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organization that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by. 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,” said HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco (Formerly Charlene Wittstock).
The Princess discovered her passion for the water and dedicated 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. “During those years, I learnt 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,” continued the Princess.
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.
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.
Lifesaving South Africa’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.
Mr. Gavin Varejes, President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, also announced the distribution of 200 rescue boards, valued in excess of R2mil 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.
Varejes, synonymous for his generosity and support of the SA Surfing Legends and President of SA Rugby Legends, 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.”
“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”, says Doug Mattheus, Head of Marketing at Cell C.
Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy and SASCOC President Gideon Sam both expressed gratitude to HSH Princess Charlene and Mr. Varejes for their contribution to raising the profile of Lifesaving in South Africa, both on a social level and as a sport. Dylan Tommy said “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, by way of its General Tire brand, 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 said “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.” He described her as “an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African.”