Team GB sailors and rising stars of the marine industry congratulated at BMF and RYA Parliamentary Reception
MPs, Peers, Olympic and Paralympic athletes gathered in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday 30 October) for the annual Parliamentary Reception of the British Marine Federation (BMF) and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in the House of Commons.
The joint reception, sponsored by keen sailing enthusiast Richard Ottaway MP, gave guests the opportunity to discuss issues affecting the two organisations.
This year the event was held to celebrate the medals won on the water at the London 2012 Games and to meet the rising stars of tomorrow in the sport and wider industry. The audience was introduced to boating’s up-and-coming talent, acknowledging the important contribution young people can make.
Nigel Stuart, Managing Director of Discovery Yachts and Make it in Great Britain Industry Champion, spoke about the challenges for the UK yachting industry and the valuable role that young people can make.
Mr Stuart commented: “The Government support has improved over the last few years and it is very welcome, there are now several grants to help us. The BMF estimates that there are 250 apprentices taken on every year and I think this is positive. We can’t do much to improve the economic climate ourselves but we can be ready for the upturn with a skilled and world-leading workforce that we can continue to produce the high quality British craft we do today.”
Also in attendance were newly crowned Paralympic athlete Helena Lucas, Annie Lush, 3x World Champion and Olympic athlete and 2016 rising star,470 European Champion Sophie Weguelin.
Stephen Park OBE, RYA Olympic Manager, spoke about Team GB’s outstanding achievements on the water in Weymouth and Portland this summer and how this should inspire the wider boating community. Mr Parks said: “I feel this year we, as a nation, have fallen back in love with sport, with winning and with being British. The achievements from both the Great British Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams surpassed our expectations and have shown that we have worked hard, as a team.”
Mr Ottaway said: “This summer gave us all some fantastic Olympic and Paralympic memories including the inspiring performances by British sailors on the water. It is fantastic to be joined by some of those athletes here this evening along with apprentices from the successful leisure marine industry.”
Howard Pridding, CEO of the BMF, concluded: “As we acknowledge the achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians, it is also important to develop the future stars of our industry both on and off the water. The leisure marine industry is innovating and adapting in light of challenging economic times, and the young people I have met this evening are reason to be confident of its continued success for many years to come”.
Summing up at the end of the reception Gus Lewis Head of Government Affairs at the RYA said: “It was a very successful event. Working together with the BMF adds strength to both our voices. Today we spoke to Ministers, MPs and officials about the success of our sport and the industry that supports it, and also about the wider need to protect rights and safety of navigation, but the message was clear – that we need their continued support to build on that success."