Self-proclaimed mayors of Shelly Beach, Errol 'Jay' Corr and Brian Barrow have been presented Commendations for Brave Conduct by the Governor of NSW.
Corr and Barrow were both nominated for a bravery award for their actions after they rescued Mona Vale woman, Joy Carter from the surf at Shelly Beach in 2017.
Ms Carter was at risk of drowning in rough seas off the beach in Port Macquarie around noon on March 10.
She was struggling to swim in a rip between rock barriers at the beach and had sustained injuries from being tossed against rocks.
Alerted to the danger by local resident Robyn Sparkes, Corr swam out in the rip to rescue Ms Carter before he was joined in the surf by Barrow.
Both were swimming for 20 minutes across the rip before bringing Ms Carter back to the safety of the beach.
Mr Corr said he was humbled to be recognised for bravery by Margaret Beazley AO QC at the Investiture ceremony on May 16 but was glad to be back in Port Macquarie.
"The applause was unreal, I felt humbled and was nearly in tears," he said.
"It was very official and everyone was fantastic but I was glad to get out of the city."
The retired police prosecutor, who watches over the beach almost daily, said he has performed more than 30 rescues in the last 17 years.
Of all the retrievals, Corr counts the rescue at Shelly Beach as the one that scared him the most because of the injuries sustained by Ms Carter and the severity of the swell.
Mr Barrow said sometimes Shelly Beach was calm and other days it turns nasty.
"It was pretty rough seas that day but some days it's amazing, as good as gold," he said.
"A lot of the time it looks safe and I go down most days.
"Although not as much as I used to."
Brian was almost late to his Commendation for Brave Conduct meeting with the Governor, after his flight was delayed.
"It was quite funny because I was late to get there," he said.
"I was the last there but she was a lovely lady (Margaret Beazley AO QC), very warm when you meet her and didn't appear to think she was above everyone else.
"I think the honourary award is a good thing for the kids to have."
The award is given for an act of bravery that is worthy of recognition and is the fourth highest Australian Bravery Decoration.
Corr and Barrow both received silver gilt sprig of mimosa mounted on a blood-red backing ribbon for their efforts.
Both men frequent Shelly Beach almost daily and are very competent swimmers.
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