A Mollymook man has been rewarded for his can do attitude and commitment to his community.
Andrew Winters was given an Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contribution to Surf Life Saving, at both Bondi and Mollymook, commitment to the board of the Clovelly Bendigo Community Bank branch and work with the Milton Ulladulla Parkinson’s Support Group.
Having joined the surf club at just 15 years of age, Mr Winters, now 68 years old, has been a part of the movement most of his life.
He was president of Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club for eight years and treasurer for four, as well as a vice boat captain for 10 years.
“My first sweep asked me what I wanted to do, and I said row surf boats,” he said.
“When I was 65 all I wanted to do was row surf boats.”
While he was a boat crew sweep, Mr Winters claimed a world championship, Australian title and a “couple of state championships”.
“I love the camaraderie, the training, the social aspect and giving back to the community. Surf clubs are full of people who donate their time,” he said.
However, a multiple system atrophy Parkinson’s diagnosis at the age of 65 saw Mr Winters hang up his oar. But, it didn’t stop him contributing to surf lifesaving.
“Three years ago I moved to Mollymook and joined the surf club,” he said. “They have been very good to me. I train there for an hour a day at the gym, go to social events and go to the club every Sunday.”
While he was a director of the Clovelly Community Bank for more than a decade, over $1 million was given back to Eastern Sydney communities. Surf clubs were among those who benefited from the bank’s donations, securing new IRBs (Inflatable Rescue Boats).
Mr Winters has now turned his help to the Milton Ulladulla Parkinson's Disease Support Group.
“My GP recommended the group to me. At the first meeting I attended, they wanted a treasurer. No one put their hand up, so I put my hand up,” he said.
Upon news he was being awarded an OAM, Mr Winter became emotional.
“There is nothing left on my bucket list to do. Getting the OAM is a highlight,” he said.
“I cried when I found out. If I knew who nominated me, I would shake their hand and cry on their shoulder.
“My whole life has been to do things for other people and I never say no when someone asks me for something. You do it for the right reasons, you do it to give back. To have someone recognise your lifetime of work is quite amazing.”