Walsall’s Deputy Mayor was at the helm when more than 50 students and adults with disabilities received  awards for their sailing efforts.

Councillor Pete Smith attended the Walsall Outdoor Pursuits Centre’s RYA Sailability Awards presentation last month which took place at Mary Elliot School in Walsall.

Pupils from  Mary Elliot School, Old Hall School, SENSE day care services and Walsall Sailability group all attended.

As part of the Sailability programme they have gained sailing skills, greater confidence and independence and have enjoyed  having the opportunity to learn new skills. 

Councillor Smith presented a Bronze, Silver and Gold sailing awards as well as the Darlaston Rotary Sailability Trophy to Mary Elliot School for services to sailing .

Walsall Outdoor Pursuits Centre is a service delivered through Walsall Council's sport and leisure development team.

The Deputy Mayor  said: “It was a wonderful event and I am full of admiration for the achievements of everyone who received an award.

“The emphasis is very much on encouraging and supporting people with disabilities and recognising their abilities rather than any limitations. All those who have taken part in sailing sessions have clearly got so much out of the experience and I congratulate them for not only making personal progress but for inspiring others too.

Ben Julian, RYA Sailability Regional Organiser for the West Midlands, added: "It's great to see so many people sailing at Walsall Outdoor Pursuits and seeing them achieve a Sailability award from the RYA Sailability scheme. 

"There is a freedom found on the water that people often can’t find in their everyday lives. The scheme gives people the focus to achieve an award for their hard work and skill, and it's fantastic to celebrate their achievements within the scheme in this way."

As a recognised RYA Sailability site and RYA Training Centre, Walsall Outdoor Pursuits provides opportunities for disabled people to learn to sail and sail regularly.

The centre has a proud track record of working with a number of local special schools and community groups to introduce people of all ages to sailing, no matter what their ability or disability, and providing them with opportunities to sail regularly at low cost, through the RYA Sailability programme. 

For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability