Tanner Gorille saved a young woman from drowning in a tidal pool. His efforts were recognised by Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Supplied
Tanner Gorille saved a young woman from drowning in a tidal pool. His efforts were recognised by Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Supplied

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honours Cape Town lifeguard with a royal medal

By Thandile Konco Time of article published May 17, 2021

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Cape Town - A 22-year-old lifeguard from Clifton beach has made news headlines, for having received the prestigious Russell Medal, issued by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, after he rescued a young woman from drowning in a Camps Bay tidal pool.

On December 16, 2016, lifeguard Tanner Gorille swam across the 20m Camps Bay pool and rescued the unconscious woman from the water.

He then performed CPR on her, until she showed signs of life. Gorille placed her into the recovery position and waited until the paramedics arrived and stabilised her.

Gorille, who is now the vice-captain at the DHL Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club, was awarded the 2016 Russell Medal which is issued by the Royal LifeSaving Society.

Earlier this month Gorille was invited to a virtual meeting where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself awarded Dr Stephen Beerman, from Canada, with the King Edward VII Royal Lifesaving cup as part of their 80th anniversary.

Gorille described the opportunity of being in the company of royalty as humbling.

He said he was honoured to represent the DHL Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club on an international platform.

The third-year UCT student, who is completing his Bachelor of Social Science degree, joined the club as a lifeguard about 10 years ago. What he initially viewed as an extramural activity quickly progressed into a passion.

“It’s a passion. It is very gratifying and fulfilling when you are able to bring someone back to life through CPR. It is also a privilege and honour to teach others how to save lives.

“I am not special, anyone could do what I did, and I am hoping to inspire others to do the same. Anyone who is keen in being of service to the community is welcome to join our club or any club and contribute by taking up life-saving.”

The club captain of DHL Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club, Paul Lassen, said he was proud of Gorille’s achievement. Gorille has been part of the Clifton Club for a decade.

“We are super proud of him and his heroic and outstanding work. At the DHL Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club, we are a family and we are community based. We teach how to save lives, how to give back and how to strive for excellence.”

The club is the second-oldest life-saving club in South Africa, with 120 volunteering lifeguards that watch the beaches. Apart from saving lives, the club is competitively active in inter-provincial activities. Gorille is said to be due to represent his team in the Western Cape.

Weekend Argus

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