The Queen has spoken of her surprise at finding out she was the first person in the Commonwealth to achieve a prestigious lifesaving award. And Her Majesty shared her ongoing pride in her achievement, eighty years after being presented with the prize.
The memories of her childhood were revealed during a video conference with members of the Royal Life Saving Society which works to prevent drowning across the Commonwealth. The Queen, speaking from Windsor Castle, recalled her own experiences in training for and being awarded the Society’s Junior Respiration Award back when she was a teenager. Her participation in the programme was seen as a turning point for it being taken up across the Commonwealth.
When she admitted she couldn’t remember exactly when she had won her award, The Queen was informed her achievement was back in 1941. As it was revealed she was the first person to win the Junior Respiration Award, she said she wasn’t aware of that but just remembered working ”very hard” to pass the tests.
The video call celebrated the work of the society and the achievements of two young people who both saved the lives of people in danger of drowning. Tanner Gorille from South Africa explained how he had rescued and then resuscitated someone during a packed holiday event in 2016. Sarah Downs from the UK spoke of saving a child during a stint as a lifeguard. Both have been awarded the RLSS’s Russell Medal for their bravery.
The RLSS works in thirty countries around the Commonwealth and aims to combat preventable death by drowning and deliver lifesaving education.