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HomeNewsRock pool charity swimmer honoured among Northern Beaches’ Citizen Awards

Rock pool charity swimmer honoured among Northern Beaches’ Citizen Awards

The Annual Australia Day Awards on 26 Jan honours 19 preeminent citizens from the Northern Beaches, including five exceptional high achievers and an additional 14 Outstanding Community Service Awards recipients.

The five who distinguished themselves as considerate and selfless members of the community include:

Citizen of the Year Bobby Lehane of Freshwater, who launched the Rock the Pool 2021 Swimathon, which, through sponsored swimming in ocean rock pools – he alone completed 100 swims in 100 days – raised in excess of $100,000 for Lifeline Northern Beaches mental health service.

Senior Citizen of the Year Terry le Roux of Balgowlah, who represented community and resident groups on numerous social and environmental issues, ranging from the remediation of North Harbour Reserve, preservation of the Clarence Street Bridge, the Save Manly Oval Alliance and Forty Baskets tidal pool remediation and rebuild.

Young Citizen of the Year Molly Parker of Balgowlah, the first female IRB/Rescue Boat Captain at North Steyne SLSC and one of five female jet ski operators on the Northern Beaches, who dedicated over 500 hours or her time to Surf Lifesaving in a variety of roles and responsibilities.

Sportsperson of the Year Patrick Wood of Collaroy Plateau, who excels in soccer and, after many years of exceptional sporting achievements, is now a striker for Sydney FC A-League men’s team.

Community Event of the Year Northern Beaches Secret Rocks creator Sarah Downes – who established a public pebble painting fun activity during the first Covid-19 Lockdown. It brought people together in physical activity and provided a welcome distraction to the social restrictions wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan commended the 19 awards recipients for their community spirit and warm-hearted beneficence.

“Despite all the challenges we have faced over the last 12 months,” he said, “there are plenty of examples of amazing contributions to our community. While none of the recipients seek recognition or praise, this is a great opportunity for us as a community to acknowledge their great contributions.There is no denying we have some extraordinary people on the Northern Beaches.”

Bobby Lehane at Freshwater, where he began his 100 swims in 100 days on New Year’s Day 2021. Photo: Alec Smart

Bobby Lehane – Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year

Manly Observer caught up with Bobby Lehane to quiz him about his extraordinary acts of altruism. These involved  feats of endurance swimming whilst raising a considerable sum in sponsorship for Lifeline Northern Beaches mental health charity.

On New Year’s Day 2021, Bobby immersed himself in Freshwater ocean pool and began undertaking the first laps of his Rock the Pool 2021 Swimathon initiative.

By mid-April, 100 swims later and undertaken in 100 days, during which he travelled to every rock pool in NSW, Lehane had swum 250km – equivalent to the distance between Manly and Batemans Bay.

In doing so, he raised over $100,000 for Lifeline Northern Beaches – a mental health charity that provides an anonymous and confidential 24-hour crisis support line.

Lifeline is Australia’s leading suicide prevention service, providing those experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour support. Lifeline Northern Beaches CEO David Thomas revealed that demand for local counselling services has increased by over 150% in just twelve months, largely attributable to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Lehane’s fundraising enables them to continue operating crisis telephones and aiding those in difficulty.

Rock the Pool 2021


Bobby Lehane, Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year, raised over $100,000 for mental health charity Lifeline through sponsored swims. Photo: Alec Smart