The Queen honours Lifesavers

photo credit: Buckingham Palace

Queen Elisabeth II, Patron of the Royal Life Saving Society since 1952, spoke to lifesavers and researchers from the organisation via video call – 80 years after completing her Junior Respiration Award.

ILSE congratulates former ILS President Dr Stephen Beerman for receiving the King Edward VII Cup.

Her Majesty was hosted on the vido call by Clive Holland, Deputy President of the Royal Life Saving Society and Juridical Advisor of ILSE, and joined by Dr Stephen Beerman in Nanaimo, Canada, recipient of the Society’s 2020 King Edward VII Cup, as well as lifesavers Tanner Gorille from Cape Town, South Africa, and Sarah Downs from Exeter, UK (pictured). The Queen has shared memories of achieving her own lifesaving qualification aged 14 during a video call with the Royal Life Saving Society – before revealing she ‘didn’t realise’ she was the first in the Commonwealth to do it.

In 1941, as Princess Elizabeth, Her Majesty, became the first young person in the Commonwealth to achieve the Society’s Junior Respiration Award, providing an example to young people and helping to establish lifesaving and resuscitation qualifications across the network of nations.

The Queen, 95, recalled her memories of receiving the Award 80 years ago, telling the call participants: ‘I didn’t realise I was the first one – I just did it, and had to work very hard for it!’…’It was a great achievement and I was very proud to wear the badge on the front of my swimming suit. It was very grand, I thought.’

The Queen was interested to hear accounts from the two well trained young lifeguards, who told her about their respective rescue efforts which led to them both receiving the Society’s Russell Medal for saving a life via resuscitation.

The Russell Medal is awarded annually to someone under 18 years of age, for displaying bravery and quick-thinking under pressure.

RLSS Lifesaver Sarah Downs received the Medal in 2018 after performing CPR on a young boy who got into difficulties whilst she was on duty at Middlemore Pool in Exeter.

South African Lifesaver Tanner Gorille was similarly recognised for his bravery in 2016 after performing resuscitation on a young woman whilst on volunteer lifeguard duty at one of Cape Town’s tidal pools, managing to keep the young woman stable until the paramedics arrived.

The Queen praised them for their lifesaving efforts, and putting the skills gained through their training with the Society into action.

The video call was also an opportunity for Her Majesty to virtually present Dr Stephen Beerman with the King Edward VII Cup, awarded every two years in recognition of outstanding contributions to drowning prevention.

The Queen congratulated Dr Beerman for over 40 years of work to draw attention to drowning as a major public health issue, from undertaking research on the ground in the hardest hit countries, to implementing Canada’s first Drowning Prevention Plan.

On presenting the Cup to Dr Beerman, Her Majesty said: ‘I’m very delighted to be able to present you with this Cup – a very large cup, which one day you might see if you come to London.’

ILSE congratulates former ILS President Dr Steve Beerman for receiving the King Edward VII Cup.

Drowning remains one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the world today, with an estimated 235,000 deaths every year, of which 90% occur in low and middle income countries.

The Queen’s virtual engagement with the Royal Life Saving Society comes as the United Nations have adopted a historic Resolution on Drowning Prevention, representing the formal acknowledgement of drowning as one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the world today.

The UN Resolution – spearheaded by Bangladesh and Ireland – sets out specific actions for each country to take to prevent drowning, and introduces an annual ‘World Drowning Prevention Day’, which will be marked for the first time this year on July 25th, 2021.

See the full video call at


Queen recalls taking lifesaving course at 14 not realising she was first in Commonwealth to do it | Daily Mail Online