In dictionaries, a “captain” is most commonly described as someone who has been identified as having the characteristics necessary to be a good leader, a team player and a person who others can look up to and rely on and, after having the opportunity to talk with local tradie Tom Lingham and his daughter Tabitha, I can understand why they have both been recognised as possessing those attributes.
Featured Image(above): A family of captains – Tom and Tabitha Lingham
Tom, a tiler who has lived on the island for more than eleven years, is the current Bribie Island Surf Club Captain and he said that when he was nominated for the role at the end of the last season, he accepted the nomination readily. ‘I took on the position as a way of showing my respect for the club and to thank them for their support during my son Oscar’s recovery from a serious medical condition,’ Tom said. ‘He broke his femur during a Rugby match and was then also diagnosed as having a rare type of tumour in the bone with the result being that his recovery has taken a long time.
The support that we have received from the club has been astounding,’ he explained. As the Captain, Tom’s responsibilities include making sure that all equipment is in working order, setting up patrols, keeping up to date with new ideas and regulations and making sure that all is going well on the beach. Tom said to me that he more or less grew up in a surf environment and he became involved with the club because of his family. ‘I have been a patrolling member for about six years,’ he pointed out.
Tabitha, a year six student, is School Captain at Banksia beach State School and also a member of the award-winning school band. When I asked her about what it takes to become a school captain, she told me that it involves a lot more than just being a good student. ‘The duties of a school captain include helping the teachers, looking after the welfare of other students and of course being a good role model,’ Tabitha said. I must admit that as she spoke about her position of responsibility at the school, Tabitha demonstrated a level of confidence and maturity that is seldom seen in one of this age and I was left with little doubt about her leadership qualities.
As I have written on many previous occasions, the Bribie Island community is made up of so many wonderful people and both Tabitha Lingham and her father Tom can both be regarded as excellent examples of that.