Judy Leese from Kendal was selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel because of her commitment to the club for more than 30 years.
"I had an inkling that someone had put my name forward, but I didn't know for sure. I know that another club member Nicola Johnson had been given an award but thought they wouldn't give two awards to one club. I'm very proud because it is quite an honour," said Judy.
She will be commodore for the fifth year during 2017, the club's 50th year, and says the club has been having an amazing time. Over the last 10 years the club managed to get four training dinghies thanks to a Sport England grant that she was instrumental in acquiring and in 2015 secured an RS Tera from the Eric Twiname Trust.
She has been a very active member of Coniston Sailing Club (CSC) since her junior years; by the 1980s she was running regattas that attracted over 100 entrants. She joined the Management Committee in 1988 and has since held the posts of Rear Commodore, Vice Commodore, Bar Chairman and Honorary Secretary as well as becoming the youngest-ever Commodore in 1990 and a Trustee of the club.
Judy is about to retire from a high pressure job in banking but found time to negotiate with the National Trust for permission to build an extension at the club to accommodate new changing rooms and disabled access and facilities.
In order to pay for the improvements she spent most of Christmas 2014 filling out grant applications to around 35 potential sources of funds, including a £75,000 award from Sport England's Inspired Facilities Fund. Those applications meant she also had to secure a 20 year renewal of the club's lease which only had five years left.
The citation says: "Her tireless efforts resulted in grant awards of over £100,000 and the extension is now well underway. Judy has been pivotal over the last 36 years in the development and running of CSC and, without her input, the club would not be in the robust position it is today."
RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson explains: “The RYA Volunteer Awards are all about celebrating the hard work and dedication of the many volunteers who put so much in to support our sport.“It’s really important we take the time to say thank you. These volunteers are making our sport happen and without them we wouldn’t be getting out on the water and enjoying all the activities which we do today”.