Woman to the rescue
By DAWN COHEN
Debbie puts nip on blokes to become SLSC president
THE Pawsey family is pioneering a new variation of a great Aussie tradition.
Debbie Pawsey is the Far North Coast's first female surf life saver president.
But Ms Pawsey, elected unopposed to the presidency of the Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving Club in June, doesn't understand the fuss.
"I didn't think about being a woman when I took the presidency on," the 42-yearold said. "They needed someone and I thought it would be a good opportunity.
"But women from other clubs keep congratulating me. My first job in the role was to award Gordon McNaughton his 60-year membership.
"He said good on you for breaking through the glass ceiling. It meant a lot because he is a wonderful person."
The Evans Head resident joined the club 10 years ago when her daughters ? Jessica, 17, and Bianca, 14, who patrol Evans Head beach ? were nippers.
"I am not one of those parents who can just stand by and watch," she said.
"I love the involvement and companionship of surf life saving."
After a decade of service, including as age group manager and senior first aid officer, she won the trust of long-time members.
She has been involved in a number of rescues, providing first aid and co-ordinating land responses.
"I suppose I have been there and done most things in the club," she said.
The organisation has 398 members, about 40 per cent of whom are female, with more girls than boys in the nippers.
"There was negativity towards women entering the male domain when females were let in during the 1980s but I haven't had a prob- lem," she said.