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Lifeguards honoured for 'relentless' efforts to save Chris Bellchambers

Well-known Orillia man died June 20 after being pulled from lake; lifeguards 'acted heroically and professionally and did everything they could,' mayor says

Eleven lifeguards were recognized by city council Monday for their efforts to save a well-known Orillia man last month.

On June 19, Chris Bellchambers was pulled from Lake Couchiching after going underwater off the government dock. He died in hospital June 20.

Mayor Steve Clarke was at Couchiching Beach Park with his two granddaughters when the incident occurred.

“What I witnessed that evening appeared to be that our lifeguards acted quickly, professionally and appeared to do everything in their ability to save a life,” he said. “I saw lifeguards running from the main station to the dock, back and forth, communicating well.”

“They kept everybody under control.”

Clarke said he saw them “working to save him for many, many minutes.”

“They were relentless in their efforts to try to revive him,” he said.

The lifeguards involved that day included Luke Bremner, Madison Delaney, Mitchell Evershed, Flora Haslem, Marit Kershaw, Michaela Markle, Javier Marroquin, William Quigley, Lily Seedhouse, Sarah Sneyd and Christine Wareing.

“On behalf of all of council and staff and the citizens of Orillia, we want to express a heartfelt thank-you for how they reacted and what they did that day and what they do every day on the job,” the mayor said. “They acted heroically and professionally and did everything they could.”

All 11 will get certificates of appreciation from the city.

They were unable to participate in Monday’s council meeting because of its later start, having been immediately preceded by a council committee meeting.