Obituary for Mike O'Brien
It was with much sadness that we learnt this week of the death of one of our founder members and first Club Captain Mr. Mike O’Brien, a larger than life character that set the standards at Falmouth Surf Life Saving Club for all who would follow. He set high standards for himself and expected nothing less of all other members. His drive and determination laid the foundations for the club in those early years.
His role as resident paramedic at Falmouth Docks aided his competence in the sea, knowledge and skills that he admirably shared with fellow members. His claim to fame in his docks position was that he could drive in an Ambulance to Truro City Hospital from the docks gates in just over eight minutes.
He also made sure, long before main stream surf life saving did, that the female members played an equal part in club activities; Elaine, the present Hon Club Secretary and another founder member often recalls acting as patient for the mainstay of surf life saving drill at the time R&R (reel, line and resuscitation) in the sea in fading light 200 yards off Maenporth Beach waiting for the belt man to rescue her, and seeing the last bus to Mawnan Smith, her home village, pass by the beach with a long walk home to come. Training always came first in those days!
Winter training at the old Falmouth YMCA building was another highlight, Mike’s first aid skills pass on to all, plus his love of gymnastics making sure we were all kept very fit! Early season training on the beach was not met with the same enthusiasm, 09.00 start for six person R&R training before patrols started, and no wetsuits in those days (1976/68).
Life Saving always came first for Mike, surfing and life saving sport was just an aside. Gone but never forgotten, Mike leaves us to join those other greats from Surf Life Saving past to be with fellow Life Savers in the sky.
Rest in peace Mike.
Mike, (far left) receiving the club's first piece of rescue equipment
Mike, (Centre rear)