Bude Surf Life Saving Club
The Surf Life Saving Association of Great Britain (SLSGB) was formed in 1955. Volunteer clubs patrolled beaches at Bude and St Agnes in Cornwall and Brighton, their aim to protect, rescue and resuscitate bathers.
The Surf Life Saving movement in the UK was instigated through a chance meeting in 1951. Alan Kennedy, an Australian surfer and some fellow Australians who had returned from war service in Cornwall, had enthused about the surf, particularly at Bude, calling it 'The Bondi of Britain'.
After a meeting with the Harbour Master and local lifeguards a full report was returned to Australia stating that to develop surf life saving in the UK it would be necessary to have a reel, line and belt, and a surf ski. After further visits to Bude and meetings with Town Council officials enough interest was shown and the equipment was forwarded to Bude by rail during August 1953. Members of the Bude Youth Club and others received the first instructions on Australian surf life saving methods.
These instructions resulted in two squads of eleven members gaining their Surf Bronze Medallions . On 10th August 1953 a cable was forwarded to Australia S.L.S.A. with the results of the examinations and the Bude club was born.Today, forty years on, Bude Surf Life Saving Club has logged well over a thousand rescues and numerous more preventative actions.
The Club patrols Crooklets beach from late May to mid September each season as well as providing training for most of the professional life guards in the North Cornwall area. Bude S.L.S.C. has moved a long way from its original headquarters beneath a wooden beach hut. Its current club house, built mainly by members was opened in 1977.
Throughout its fifty year history, the club has been completely self financing and has, by tradition, maintained Tuesday night demonstrations on Crooklets Beach of life saving techniques as its most important fund raising activity attracting tourists and locals alike.Some thirty years ago the initiative of the members brought about the Poldark Fayre,which has been held annually ever since, and has proven to be a most rewarding fund raising event. Such is its legendary fame, that many people even arrange their holidays around this August date.
Another very popular fundraising event is the Christmas Day Swim, this began some 25 years ago when 2 local families decided to take a dip on Christmas morning, more and more people joined in over the years and now some 500 swimmers and 2000 spectators descend on Crooklets Beach at 11am on Christmas Day making this the biggest non-wetsuit wearing swimming event in the South West.
The Bude Surf Life Saving Club and it's motto of 'Vigilance and Service' gives an insight into it's valued and very important role in the long and fascinating history of Bude.