STUDENTS and teachers from Windsor South Public School were delighted by a visit from Bondi Rescue’s Wallace ‘Wally’ Eggleton this week.
The Bondi Beach lifeguard - who has appeared on Network Ten show Bondi Rescue - grew up in the Hawkesbury, and took the opportunity to visit his old primary school teacher Belinda Bristol, and speak to her pupils about water safety.
Ms Bristol taught Wally when he was a pupil at Windsor Public School in Years 5 and 6. She has since moved on to teach at Windsor South PS - where she is also deputy principal - but she remembers Wally being a keen swimmer, often competing in swimming competitions all those years ago.
“I remember him being very creative, he loved drawing. He was often out during the school day competing in state and national swimming events,” she told the Gazette.
“Wally has worked as a lifeguard at Bondi Beach for two years now and loves his job, even though he works 13-hour shifts.”
Ms Bristol said Wally spoke to the students about the importance of learning to swim, being safe in and around water, and swimming between the red and yellow flags when at the beach.
“The children asked some really interesting questions and we learnt that the longest race that Wally has swum was about 10km, which took him about two hours to complete,” Ms Bristol said.
“We also learnt that he doesn't see sharks at Bondi very often, but he does see seals quite a lot.
“We heard that the lifeguards at Bondi can rescue between 100 and 200 people on a busy summer's day - usually those people are not swimming between the flags.
“Wally generously gave some of our students a pair of goggles and I was lucky to receive a signed Beach Inspector Lifeguard shirt, which I wore all day!
“I am so proud of Wally and his achievements, I hope to see him again.”
Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett attended the school for Wally’s visit.
Wally grew up in Windsor and attended high school at Colo High. He just missed out on an Olympic spot for the 2012 London Olympics on the swimming team, but has since gone on to win two National titles in different surf life saving disciplines, according to the Bondi Rescue website.