His grandmother Jean Martin recalls the day: “There were not a lot of people around. I was there watching the children saying come in, come in, but I think one little girl just panicked a little bit. They were wearing life jackets, but when the little girl was getting dragged out by the current, Luke sprang into action. He pushed his boogie board out to her and got her to where she could stand. It’s good because it was quick thinking on his behalf.”
What’s especially remarkable is that Luke is on the autism spectrum, and is one of about 20 kids who took part in the Stingray Nippers program ran by Toowoon Bay Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), NSW. He did one session with them last year and loved it so much his grandmother signed him up for the whole season this summer.
Toowoon Bay SLSC recently introduced the Stingray Nippers program with great success. Designed for children with additional needs, participants have graduated and transitioned into the mainstream Nippers program and have gone on to compete in beach sport carnivals. Luke Martin is one “Stingray” who put his training into action when it was needed most.
“We have had an army of volunteers making it work for the children and they all seem to have at least as much fun as the children!” said Karen Hickmott, Toowoon Bay Stingray Nippers Coordinator.
“For me personally it has enabled my family to participate in an activity together, instead of the usual ‘divide and conquer’ approach we normally have to take. It has also facilitated us all being warmly embraced into the broader lifesaving community.”
For more information about the Toowoon Stingray Nippers program, please visit toowoonsurfclub.com.au.