“Frenchy” and Mercer honoured by Torquay SLSC

July 3, 2022 BY

Geoffrey's wife Rhonda, on behalf of her husband, and John Mercer receiving the life membership honours. Photos: SUPPLIED

A PAIR of long-serving members of the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club have cemented their place in the club’s history, being named life members.

Geoffrey French and John Mercer, both well-known Surf Coast locals and popular figures at Torquay SLSC, were awarded life membership at the club’s 77th annual general meeting.

“Recognising our members’ dedication to our club and to lifesaving is an important part of our culture at Torquay SLSC,” Torquay SLSC marketing director Sarah O’Dwyer said.

“It’s very inspiring for every one of us, whether you’re new to lifesaving or a long-term supporter, we love hearing the stories from our life members.”

Mr French, a 57-year member, joined the club as a junior completing 10 years of patrolling at Torquay Surf Beach.

He conducted regular lifesaving fundraisers for vital lifesaving equipment through barbecues and catering, including thousands of dollars donated by him personally for equipment needed at the club.

“Frenchy is a true icon of the Torquay SLSC, a passionate supporter of surf boat rowing and lifesaving.

“His famous barbecues were an institution for members over the years.”

Geoffrey French was unable to accept his life membership in person given he was in hospital at the time.

A 47-year member, Mr Mercer was a very successful competition surf ski paddler, competing for 42 years in total.

He has served on the committee in many positions such as board and ski captain, competition captain, gear steward, team manager, 10 years as junior coaching director, and director of facilities for the past four years.

Mr Mercer has also spent 25 years patrolling the Torquay Surf Beach.

“John is a wonderful inspiration to our younger members, always out in the ocean, still helping with patrols, and to be honest our building is still holding it together due to John’s constant patching and repairing as our director of facilities,” Ms O’Dwyer said.