To understand why Pip Berry is leaving a gift to Surf Life Saving in her will, you have to go all the way back to the Gold Coast in the 1970s.
Pip fondly recalls racing up and down unspoiled beaches and being allowed outside with her siblings to splash in the shallows until tea time.
Even then, Pip was aware of the dangers of rough surf and grateful for the work of volunteer surf lifesavers.
“One year as we were driving through Southport on our way to Kirra, we passed an ambulance with its sirens going headed for Brisbane,” Pip said.
“What we didn’t realise was that my grandad had been dumped in the surf, and the surf lifesavers saved him and put him in an ambulance. He spent months in hospital, and he had broken his neck in the surf.”
Thankfully Pip’s grandad had been swimming between the red and yellow flags and the swift intervention of volunteer surf lifesavers meant that he could be transferred to the hospital in time to keep him alive.
Grateful for her grandad’s rescue and the countless hours surf lifesavers had spent watching over her family, Pip decided to leave a bequest after her son Michael was born.
“What volunteer surf lifesavers do is just phenomenal, because they’re first responders. They’re unpaid, highly trained, highly skilled first responders,” Pip said. “Australia being an island with a lot of beaches, there just aren’t enough surf lifesavers to go around.”
Seeing her friends volunteering in the movement in the 1980s, Pip became a regular supporter and is passionate about supporting future generations with her bequest.
“It’s a purpose that I want to support because I think it’s awesome and I think they need as much help as they can to keep going.”
As for Pip’s grandad, he not only made a full recovery but went on to live another 30 years – a fact that’s not lost on Pip. “I think what happened with my grandad, and how all our family swims, and it’s the lifestyle of Australia,” she said.
“Giving makes me feel like Michael’s generation is safe, and you can’t take your money with you – so why not?”