Two sailors are in the running for honours when the West Midlands Community Sports Awards take place at the University of Birmingham on Thursday (7 December).

Olton Mere SC's Andrew Yates, who this year was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year Honours for his contribution to sailing in the Borough of Solihull, is shortlisted for the Community Coach of the Year having won the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire award. 

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Lucas Barrow from Rudyard Lake SC is in the running for the Community Volunteer of the Year after winning the Staffordshire award last month.

The West Midlands Community Sports Awards, supported by BBC Midlands, celebrates the best of local grassroots sport from across the region being recognised for their outstanding work.


Andrew has helped open the doors to sailing for more Solihull people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds over 25 years at Olton Mere SC. 

Having moved to Solihull in 1992, Andrew very quickly got involved in the management, as well as sailing, at Olton Mere to help fulfil the club’s aim to make sailing more inclusive for anyone in the borough.

This included leading on the club becoming a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety, in 2010, and four years later being recognised as an RYA Sailability centre, enabling people of all abilities to learn to sail and sail regularly.   

As well as being a talented racer, Lucas is an inspiration and role model for other junior sailors who visit or are members of the club. 

Having qualified as a Dinghy Instructor in March, within the last 12 months he has volunteered over 100 hours of his time at Rudyard Lake, including training children and adults how to sail and leading and organising the Junior racing team entry at the Southport 12 Hour Race.

Patricia Ordsmith, Rudyard Lake SC President and Senior Instructor, said: "Lucas is always a pleasure to work with and nothing ever seems to faze him. He is always happy to volunteer his time to introduce new people to the sport or to help further develop people’s sailing skills. Lucas has a wonderful coaching style and his enthusiasm for the sport comes across in everything he does."

The awards see the category winners from each of the West Midlands' six County Sports Partnerships competing for the top regional honour. 

Also being presented at the West Midlands Community Sports Awards is the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award. The BBC will also induct a new face into the BBC Midlands Hall of Fame.