She may now be an expat… and live in a Palace in one of the wealthiest locations in the world, but Princess Charlene of Monaco has not forgotten her homeland. Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy yesterday confirmed the appointment of Her Serene Highness as Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, at an event held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Umhlanga,Durban… where her brother – Gareth Wittstock – accepted the Patronage on her behalf.
In addition to accepting the Patronage, the Princess Charlene Foundation of Monaco South Africa donated 200 rescue boards (valued at R2-million) to Lifesaving South Africa.
“It is a great honour for me to be named Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organization that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by,” said Princess Charlene.
“Lifesaving South Africa’s commitment to drowning prevention is remarkable and the spirit of volunteering that you are instilling in our young people is infectious.”
Princess Charlene of Monaco (formerly Charlene Wittstock) discovered her passion for the water as a child, and dedicated 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
“During those years, I learnt the importance of discipline, team spirit, dedication and respect for the water, oneself and others; values that I know LSA lifeguards appreciate and demonstrate every day,” continued the Princess.
The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation was established in 2012 and has since reached over 300,000 people worldwide, with operations being established in South Africa in 2013.
The work of the Foundation is internationally acknowledged and celebrated for raising public awareness about the dangers of water, teaching children essential water safety skills and how to swim.
The partnership between the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa and Lifesaving South Africa will strengthen the promotion of water safety and support ‘learn to swim’ projects in South Africa… including a Watersmart classroom based educational water safety program which will be delivered free of charge to over 80 schools nationwide.
Gavin Varejes, President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, also announced the distribution of 200 rescue boards, valued in excess of R2-million from the foundation to Lifesaving SA, with thanks to Cell C and Richmark Holdings. This will see every LSA affiliated lifesaving club in South Africa receiving rescue boards to continue their critical service to the community.
Dylan Tommy said Lifesaving SA is “extremely grateful” to the Princess, and that with the partnership “we will be able to achieve far greater success in our fight against drowning in South Africa”.
“Princess Charlene is an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African”
SASCOC president Gideon Sam said “the Princess gives so much to the country she grew up in, but also so importantly to the serious issue of water safety and water education.” He described her as “an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African.”
Princess Charlene’s love for her fellow South Africans is so visible in this picture – taken on Friday when she presented SA athlete Wayde van Niekerk with his gold medal: