Rising singer-songwriter Jamie McDell is about to prove she is not just a pretty face.

The young woman, who is an ambassador for Surf Lifesaving NZ and one of the faces of its annual appeal, starting today, has signed up to train as a lifesaver.

McDell will take part in an intense one-week course from December 17-23. She then plans to patrol the popular Coromandel summer holiday spot Pauanui, where she spent many Christmas holidays as a kid.

"It's a huge responsibility," she said. "I don't want to do the course and just leave it. I want to set an example and keep getting my first-aid and refreshers so I can encourage people to do the same thing," McDell said.


The Mangawhai lass said many of her friends had become lifesavers and it was time for her to take the plunge, too. "I think I will enjoy the more physical side because I'm probably a bit of a sports fanatic myself."

The course will also include a theory test, CPR and scenario training (simulated rescues).

Dell said the skills could be handy in many situations. One of her friends used his life-saving skills to help a person injured in a car crash.

"I'm excited to be able to know what to do in situations like that."

McDell will join stars including Carly Flynn, Mike McRoberts, Frankie Stevens and Guy Sebastian at Auckland Domain next Saturday for Christmas in the Park.

"I'll be there with Stephen Kent, who's an Olympian, crazy-good lifeguard," she said. "We're trying to get people to donate and talk about the important work and hours that go into lifesaving."

McDell's first single You'll Never Take That Away, released in February, was a No 1 hit. Her website describes her as a "shark-obsessed, dolphin-possessed water baby" who never strayed far from the beach, or her guitar.

Surf Life Saving's national appeal begins this week. To donate, go to surflifesaving.org.nz