Sydney becomes a lifesaver on her first day with the RNLI

RNLI lifeguard Sydney Horsted. Picture: RNLI
RNLI lifeguard Sydney Horsted. Picture: RNLI
  • The 16-year-old manned the phones and coordinated services
  • Incident happened only 13 minutes into her first shift
  • Last year lifeguards dealt with 81 incidents
Have your say

JUST minutes into her first lifeguarding shift 16-year-old Sydney Horsted played a part in saving a man’s life.

It was Sydney’s first day on the job to patrol Southsea seafront for the RNLI and she started her shift at 10am yesterday.

It was amazing how quickly all the training I’ve gone through over the past few weeks kicked in

Lifesaver Sydney Horsted, 16

However, less than 15 minutes later, her training was tested when a man who had suffered a suspected heart attack near Southsea beach needed help.

Sydney, who is studying computing, history and digital film making at Portsmouth College, said: ‘It was really unexpected and I was quite shocked when it all happened.

‘But I remembered my training and was able to keep calm and help out.

‘As it was my first day I was both nervous and excited, but now I’m feeling much more confident.’

Help was needed after the 60-year-old man collapsed in the rock gardens, near to the Pyramids Centre, in Southsea.

A member of the public dialled 999 and lifeguards were called by the ambulance service to go to the man’s aid while an ambulance was dispatched.

Lifeguards Naomi Groome and Elliott Daley helped the man while Sydney co-ordinated communication between the ambulance service and lifeguards, while also helping to ensure the water remained under constant supervision.

The man was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital and his condition is unknown.

Sydney, who has been swimming competitively since the age of 11, had only completed her training two weeks before the incident happened.

She added: ‘It was amazing how quickly all the training I’ve gone through over the past few weeks kicked in and it was certainly reassuring to be working alongside experienced lifeguards like Elliott and Naomi.

‘People often think lifeguards only rescue people from the water but we do lot of first aid work on the beach. The biggest part of our job is preventing incidents before they happen.’

Her supervisor is also proud of her.

Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: ‘All RNLI lifeguards are highly trained in casualty care, which is a form of advanced first aid.

‘Because of this we’re designated as first responders which means when there is an medical emergency on or near the beach, the ambulance service will call us to respond and we’re usually first on scene.

‘The casualty’s condition was assessed and he was made as comfortable as possible. The ambulance arrived quickly and the man was taken to hospital suffering from a suspected heart attack.’

RNLI lifeguards will patrol Southsea beach from 10am and 6pm, seven-days-a-week until September 6.

Last summer lifeguards in Southsea dealt with 81 incidents, rescued seven people and gave first aid 61 times.

Anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard should contact Rogan on 07887 625266 or email