JAMIE Walker was a larger-than-life character for almost 45 years around his beloved Wanda Surf Life Saving Club.
So when they hold his memorial service and wake at the recently refurbished clubhouse on Monday, it will be “standing room only” for those paying their respects to the former club president and lifesaving mentor, who died suddenly aged 67 last week.
Born in England, he came to Australia as a boy, 4, and grew up at Arncliffe. He became involved in rugby league, going on to become a selector for the Cronulla Sharks junior representative team and junior club, Cronulla Caringbah.
Walker joined Wanda SLSC from Garie SLSC in 1968 and quickly showed his interest in members of all ages.
He returned to England and spent time with other surf club mates there in the early 1970s before returning to row surf boats and became a valued crew member.
One of his competition highlights was as craft handler many times for one of Wanda’s Australian ironman champions.
But it was as an administrator that Walker shone best, as a genial but firm arbitrator.
He held many positions ranging from social organiser to secretary, captain, deputy president and president, and earned respect from the Bate Bay clubs and the wider lifesaving movement.
He was involved with many sub-committees, touring teams rules, Sutherland to Surf races, many surf carnivals including the Australian Championships at Wanda, and was the first chairperson of the Cronulla/ Sutherland District Council of Lifesaving. He was elevated to life membership of Wanda SLSC in 1981.
“His death leaves a huge hole in our club, a hole which many believe will be impossible to fill,” club president Anita Pryke said.
Children from schools such as Woolooware Primary will miss him too, as Bev Walker, his wife of 26 years revealed to the Leader.
“Despite retiring from his Energy Australia job he was still able to mentor students in reading, right up until he died,” she said.
“I’ve lost a loving husband, our three sons have lost a great father and we’ve all lost a good man.”
A memorial service for Jamie Walker will be heldat 2.30pm on Monday at Wanda SLSC. All are welcome.
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