Penny wants drowning to stop
PENNY Elder is on a mission and a very important one at that.
Drownings in Australia have hit a six-year high and Elder is determined to do something about that dreadful statistic.
She wants to try and save as many lives as she can and make Hervey Bay the safest city in Queensland - she's well on her way to doing that.
The 45-year-old has a prestigious award to prove it.
Elder, a former Australian age swimming champion who moved to Hervey Bay eight years ago, has been named the annual Royal Life Saving Society Queensland Trainer of the Year.
It's the highest honour awarded to trainers.
Each year, Royal Life Saving Society Queensland honours a trainer who has trained the most students in one year.
There have been no shortage of students who have come under Penny's expert tuition at the Elders Swim Centre in Pialba over the past 12 months.
More than 2900 lifesaving certificates were awarded to school groups in Hervey Bay - the most in the whole of Queensland by almost 300.
While Elder said she was thrilled to have won the award, her work was not about winning prizes.
“I do it because I am passionate about doing something to try and stop people dying in the water,” Elder, who worked with Olympic coach and coach of Kieren Perkins and Hayley Lewis - John Carew while she lived in Brisbane, said.
“Eighty-two people drowned in Queensland in the 12 months to June this year including 14 children aged under four - that's a shocking statistic.
“I want to help educate people into changing that.”