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Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott (left), who presented Elaine Pyke with her 25-year National Service Medal clasp for distinguished service to Marine Rescue NSW, and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis. Image: Contributed

Never too old to learn or volunteer

Geoff Helisma|

Being a marine rescue volunteer offers opportunities for everyone to have a “learning experience and be helpful to the boating community”, says Elaine Pyke.

At the recent formal commissioning of Iluka-Yamba Marine Rescue’s new boat, New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott presented Elaine with a clasp recognising her 25-years of service.

Elaine and her husband Ron (deceased) joined marine rescue (then called coastguard) when they retired.

Now in her mid-80s, Elaine says she has spent the past 25 years working the radio.

“A friend of ours was a radio controller and Ron asked if he could have a look,” says Elaine.

“The next thing he was in a class [about radio control] and he said to me, ‘We both might as well do it’.

“What I really enjoy is learning all of the time, with new computers and technology, and working with a nice crew of people.

“I learnt to work on the radios, with a very commanding view of the bar.”

Ironically, Elaine says she has only crossed the bar once.

“That was enough,” she laughs, “but it was quite and experience for me, anyway.”

She says that she derives a lot of personal satisfaction on the occasions “we help people in distress” and that that feeling is a good reason to become a marine rescue volunteer.

“As volunteers we get to help people out; and the payoff is we’re learning all of the time and we’re there for anyone in distress.”