11 June 2023

Bevo buoyed by big award: Local surf club legend receives King's Birthday Honour

| Keeli Royle
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two men and two kids at beach

Three generations of surf lifesavers: Alan Beveridge with his son and grandchildren. Photo: Supplied.

For Alan Beveridge, the beach is his comfort zone and since joining the Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Club more than half a century ago, he’s dedicated countless hours to helping others and supporting his beloved club.

But while he’s used to being the one handing out awards each year, this week he couldn’t hide behind the scenes, as he received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of the King’s Birthday Honours.

The nomination itself came as a shock to Alan.

“I was just flabbergasted, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I must admit I was taken aback but I was very honoured and very proud.”

READ ALSO Trevor joins a special group of inspirational Illawarra residents named in King’s Birthday Honours list

Alan, who is known as Bevo within the club, joined as a junior just a couple of years after the club was first established in 1960 and a lot has changed since he was a nipper, with the introduction of inflatable rescue boats and new technology.

“I’ve seen rescue tubes become a torpedo buoy, I’ve seen the instigation of jet boats, drones – it’s changed a hell of a lot,” he said.

And his roles have changed as well, with Alan being involved in everything from competing to coaching, officiating, serving on the committee and taking on the presidency at the club in 1996.

“I was club captain for four years and I was quite happy doing that,” he said.

“I didn’t want to get involved in becoming president but a few guys kept saying it’s your turn, it’s your turn.”

And the accolades kept coming.

His commitment has been recognised at a club level, within the region and state, and even earned him a National Service Award from Surf Life Saving Australia.

volunteer lifesavers

Alan Beveridge with fellow Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Club volunteers in 1977. Photo: Warilla Barrack Point SLSC.

He’s now a life member of Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC, the South Coast branch and Surf Life Saving NSW.

“When you start thinking about those sort of things you think, well, I must’ve hit the right boxes to be where I am.”

But despite all his achievements, one of the things he is most proud of is providing greater representative opportunities for locals by ensuring their inclusion in the Trans-Tasman Tri-series 30 years ago.

“I saw an avenue where I could get NSW Country into that series,” Alan says.

“After 12 months of writing to the right people and talking to the right people, we got Country into that tri-series and we’ve been in it ever since.”

READ ALSO South Coast coup: Warilla-Barrack Point surf club to host country champs for next two years

But it’s not the power that keeps Alan going, it’s the people.

“It’s just the camaraderie and being part of a family,” he says.

“We try and emphasise our surf club as being a family-orientated club.”

That surf club family now includes Alan’s actual family, with his children and grandchildren involved in it and competing.

“I get more nervous for them and watching their races,” Alan says.

“I try to say to other officials, we can’t get excited when one of our team members or one of our family members does really well, but you do.

“You mightn’t jump up and down but you have a big smile on your face and when the moment’s right, you go up to them, put your arm around them and say well done.”

man with award

Alan Beveridge receiving the Shellharbour Citizen of the Year Award in 2022. Photo: Michael Boyle Photography.

Alan insists he couldn’t have achieved all he has without the support of his wife and other loved ones.

“The accolades go to my immediate family and it then goes to our surf club because without being involved in the surf club, this wouldn’t have all happened,” he said.

Now he’s hoping to encourage others to step up into leadership roles, so he can slow down and spectate a little more from the sand.

“I’ll always be a part of the club. I’d still like to take a step back … but I’ll always be a part.”

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