Lifesaver to carry baton

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club member Rob Bates has been selected as a feature baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Camera IconSecret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club member Rob Bates has been selected as a feature baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Credit: Aiden Boyham

Secret Harbour’s Rob Bates has been selected as one of two feature baton bearers for the City of Rockingham leg of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Falcon’s John Ree will join Mr Bates on the Rockingham leg of the baton’s journey as it makes its way across the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on April 4.

Mr Bates, who was nominated for the opportunity by wife Caroline, has become a local legend through his work with the Sec-ret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club.

A member of the club for the past seven years, the 50-year-old’s contribution to the club includes more than 500 patrolling hours and raising more than $150,000 in grants sponsorship, as well as mentoring club members young and old.

In 2014, Mr Bates was crowned DHL Australian surf lifesaver of the year, as well as the City’s sports star of the year.

Rob Bates has been selected as a feature baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Camera IconRob Bates has been selected as a feature baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Credit: Aiden Boyham

Before his involvement with SHSLC Mr Bates also won two Prime Minister’s awards for outstanding work with people with disabilities.

Mr Bates said he never thought he’d be in with a chance of becoming a baton bearer.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be picked up be-cause there’d be thousands of worthy people,” Mr Bates said.

“It’s a great opportunity to be involved in the Commonwealth Games and the lead-up — but more importantly the promotion of the community and what it means to the area.

“For the City of Rockingham to be selected for one of the stopping/baton points within WA is fantastic.”

Mr Ree is a retired firefighter who has been an active member of St John Ambulance for nearly 60 years.

In that time, he has donated more than 15,000 volunteer hours to community service.

He also holds the title of Knight of the Order of St John.

Mr Ree is also involved in veterans hockey and has represented the State on several occasions, both interstate and overseas.

The pair will carry the baton with 18 others through Rockingham on February 23.

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