Nippers celebrate milestone
TWEED Heads and Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club, Queensland's oldest lifesaving club, will mark another milestone this weekend as it clocks up 50 years of service to nippers.
Established in 1911, TH&C SLSC is recognised as the oldest surf lifesaving club in Queensland and has been a breeding ground for champions, with many star athletes getting their start through its nippers program.
Former TH&C nippers include Olympic gold medallist Chris Fydler, ironwoman Karla Gilbert, ironman Tim Fydler, and Gold Coast City acting chief lifeguard Chris Maynard, who all competed in the maroon and gold.
TH&C SLSC life member and nipper foundation member Alan Hickling said the nipper program had been going strong since its formation on November 13, 1966.
"We started with 36 nippers and membership fees were only 20cent per member and the club supplied the bathers in club colours and one of the nipper parents made the caps," he said.
"Parent volunteers have run the nippers every year for the past 50 years with no season missed. By 1969, there were 21 nipper clubs operating in Queensland."
To celebrate the milestone, nippers president Vaughn Thomas said the club would hold nostalgic activities with new and old members welcome to join in at Greenmount Beach.
"There will be old-style nipper activities to show how it was done back in the early days, including wheelbarrow races and a snake race, culminating in an airbed race with nippers versus parents," he said.
"The club is open to new members throughout the season and we encourage parents to bring their children down to see how the club operates and join in the fun."
There will also be a formal 50th celebration at the club on February 11. Contact 07 5536 6901 for more information.