Southern Cross University academic Dr Patrick Gillett embodies everything the Queen’s Baton Relay represents – friendship, comradery and community awareness.
Dr Gillett will represent North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club in the Queen’s Baton Relay on April 3, running along the sands of North Kirra the day before the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Pat has been with the club for more than 15 years in roles including club captain, secretary and chief training officer and still serves on regular patrols and bronze medallion training.
He said he was very humbled to represent the red and yellow heroes who volunteer to patrol the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches.
“The more I’ve thought about the baton relay, the more the thrill and the great honour has sunk in, and I’m just really glad that North Kirra SLSC gets to be acknowledged and recognised this way. I am very honoured, but would have been completely happy if another club member had been chosen,” he said.
“During the Commonwealth Games I will be on beach patrol and it will be exciting to engage with tourists who are here for the Games and telling them about life on the Gold Coast. We want every visitor to know they should swim between the flags and that they’re more than welcome to come up and say hello to the lifesavers.”
Dr Gillett works in the School of Business and Tourism at Southern Cross University Gold Coast campus, where from his floor he can see straight across the ocean to the Northern Gold Coast and his beloved North Kirra Surf Club on the other side of the Gold Coast Highway.
“When I’m at work at the University I can look out the window and see the club at the end of the street on the beach, and vice versa, when I’m at the club I can look back and see Southern Cross University and the impressive new mural on the wall by Guido van Helten,” he said.
In fact, the North Kirra local no longer uses a car, instead opting to cycle between home in North Kirra, Southern Cross University and the Surf Club.
“I’ll be riding my bike up to watch the free Cycling and Race Walk events in Currumbin during the Games,” he said.
As the course coordinator for Southern Cross University’s MBA program and a lecturer in undergraduate management subjects and postgraduate in organisational behaviour, Dr Gillett is passionate about people achieving their goals in life, both in business as well as their sporting and volunteering endeavours.
“You do get a buzz knowing you’ve had a positive influence on students. It doesn’t come naturally to me but I enjoy the opportunity to converse with students and hear about their career goals,” Dr Gillett said.
“My other passion is getting people involved in surf lifesaving because there is a place for everybody in a surf club. It is all about comradery, and sharing time with your extended family.
“Often people who want to get involved in Surf Life Saving are attracted to the bigger clubs, but I would encourage them to consider the smaller, family-based clubs such as North Kirra or Bilinga where they are really needed and can make a difference.”
Dr Gillett started his journey into academia at 25, after travelling the world as a part-time professional squash player. He went on to complete his PhD in Sport Tourism on the Gold Coast.
“I played on the satellite squash tour which mainly involved events in the USA, Canada and New Zealand. I used the sport as a way of travelling and really enjoyed it. From there I had an interest in sport tourism and sport management and came back to do my undergraduate as a mature-age student after the touring life wrapped up,” he said.
The Queen’s Baton started its journey in Australia on December 25, 2017 and has been celebrated in communities across the country for 100 days, covering around 40,000 kilometres before arriving on the Gold Coast.
April 3 will also mark the final community event for the Queen's Baton Relay on the Beach at Surfers Paradise, headlined by The Beautiful Girls, the night before the highly anticipated GC2018 Opening Ceremony on April 4.
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