It is with great sorrow and regret that the ILS confirms that Kevin Ernest WELDON AM (Australia – Surf) passed away on Friday 10 November 2023.
Kevin was the founding President of the ILS and played a pivotal role in the merging of the Fédération Internationale de Sauvetage (FIS) and World Life Saving (WLS) to form the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) in 1993. He also was the creator of the ILS logo, the ILS Song, the ILS Charter, the brick project, the membership project and was instrumental in the purchase of the ILS headquarters in Leuven – Belgium, and many more. He passed away one month before his ninetieth birthday.
Kevin Ernest WELDON AM was born on 14 December 1933 in the small town of Ingham – Queensland. At the outbreak of World War II, the family relocated to Brisbane. At age 15, he joined the Pacific Surf Life Saving Club as a cadet, and within a year attained the position of social organiser. He rose rapidly through the ranks, holding the posts of vice-captain, captain, chief instructor and ultimately president of the Club. Throughout this period, the club flourished, becoming one of the most reputable clubs in the State of Queensland.
In 1970, having been the Queensland delegate to the National Council of Surf Lifesaving, Kevin was approached to form an International Lifesaving Group.
In 1971, Kevin was elected as the President of World Life Saving (WLS) and Alan WHELPTON AO was elected Secretary General – Treasurer.
In 1993, Kevin was instrumental in uniting the FIS with to form the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), together with Dr. Harald VERVAECKE PhD, who was elected ILS Secretary General. From 1993 to 1995, he was the first and founding President of the ILS.
In 1996, Kevin brought “Baywatch” to the ILS and at the 1996 World Championships, a Baywatch team competed under the leadership of Gregory BONANN, the creator of Baywatch.
In 1998, Kevin launched the Oceanman/Oceanwomen series where the best of the best lifesaving competitors of the World competed in the Surf. Events were organised in Australia, Bali, New Zealand and the USA.
Kevin was appointed as a Grand Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and was inducted in the ILS Hall of Fame. His contributions to the world of lifesaving and his impact on the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) will always be remembered and cherished. His vision and leadership have left an indelible mark on the organisation and its members. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of lifesavers around the world.