Coffs/Clarence Police District Superintendent Steve Clarke with Lauren Pryor.
Coffs/Clarence Police District Superintendent Steve Clarke with Lauren Pryor. Trevor Veale

Lifeguard commended for bravery in drowning tragedy

A LIFEGUARD has been commended by NSW Police for her role in attempting to save the life of Grafton man Geoffrey Blackadder, who tragically drowned at Wooli Beach on Boxing Day, 2016.

Lauren Pryor, who has been a lifeguard for about three seasons now, said she was "very humbled" to receive the Certificate of Merit at the Coffs Clarence Police District Awards Ceremony held in Coffs Harbour recently.

Ms Pryor said she had turned up to work early on the day of the incident and was off duty when, at around 12.50pm, Mr Blackadder and his young relatives became caught in a rip.

It is understood Mr Blackadder was trying to save the younger relatives when the tragedy occurred.

 

The scene at Wooli beach on December 27, 2016, the day after Geoffrey Blackadder lost his life in the surf at the holiday spot.
The scene at Wooli beach on December 27, 2016, the day after Geoffrey Blackadder lost his life in the surf at the holiday spot. Frank Redward

According to police Ms Pryor ran to the assistance of fellow lifesaver Cale Callaghan who was being slammed by waves and was struggling to get Mr Blackadder, aged 60, onto his surf board.

Mr Blackadder was taken to shore where Ms Pryor assisted in attempting to resuscitate him more than 45 minutes until paramedics arrived.

Sadly, despite their efforts, Mr Blackadder died at the scene.

The four children were all rescued.