Illovo Sugar SA recently handed over 100 sets of new branded kit – sun hats, training costumes, shorts and protective long-sleeved shirts – To one of SA’s leading Lifesaving Clubs – The Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club (LC) in Durban.

“The new kit will allow for Suncoast Pirates LC to be instantly recognisable to the Durban community. These heroes work long shifts and their important duties often go unnoticed. We are very proud to support such a wonderful club that provides a great service and necessary water safety to Durban residents and visitors. They also provide valuable training to new lifesavers who service all our beaches and inland water areas,” said Darrell de Wet, Illovo Sugar SA’s marketing and communications manager.

Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club has one of the premier positions on the Durban Beachfront and the club also hosts the oldest ski race in the world – the Pirates-Mhlanga-Pirates race – every June.

The local club has a proud history of producing top athletes who have represented their province and country since the club’s inception in 1927. Their latest top performing members include Alexandra Chislett and Seiyuran Perumal who were named the respective female and male top competitors of championships in the U14 age category at the SA Surf Championships and went onto dominate the SA Still Water Champs both breaking SA records.

Brad Pearse, club chairman of Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club explained that the primary focus of the club is to create a healthy family environment and instill a sense of pride in lifesaving.

“Suncoast Pirates LC is made up of an impressive and diverse group of individuals that all share the same passion, determination and drive. We have lifesavers that have been with us for many years and are an integral part of the community they serve. Although we are exceptionally proud of the members who represent KZN and SA in this sport, we also take great pride in the members at our club that have taken this sport into the disadvantaged communities to teach underprivileged kids and communities the importance of water safety.

“The reality is that we live in a country where a large portion of the youth are uneducated or come from disadvantaged homes. Suncoast Pirates LC has enabled a number of these kids to be exposed to lifesaving and water safety. Many of them have gone onto become fully-fledged members of Pirates LC and they see the club as an extended family. Through our various programmes and training we have also been able to provide people with skill sets that result in job creation allowing some people to build a career out of the sport and to travel internationally,” he said.

Pearse said that, without the support of sponsors, this would not be possible. “Running a lifesaving club is financially challenging with all the equipment, training and overhead expenses incurred, so we are very grateful for their unwavering support over the years.”