RYA Shines Spotlight on Boating's Unsung Heroes - Paul Johnson

A volunteer from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, has been awarded one of the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) most prestigious awards in recognition of his commitment to sailing at Rickmansworth Sailing Club.
08 Nov 20

Paul Johnson is one of some 44 volunteers who are being celebrated across the UK for their exceptional dedication in boating.

Traditionally taking place at an awards ceremony in London, the RYA Volunteer Awards recognise and say ‘thank you’ to volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport, with recipients nominated by their sailing clubs, class associations and members of the boating community.

The RYA Volunteer Awards are divided into four categories: RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, The Francis Elkin Award and, new for 2020, the RYA Honor Preston Award. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, some winners will be presented with their awards at small presentations held at their sailing venues, whilst others receive them from the safety of their homes.

Paul Johnson was nominated for a Lifetime Commitment Award and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. Paul has been a stalwart of Rickmansworth Sailing Club for nearly 25 years, having taken on two stints as Commodore, as well as serving as Membership Secretary, Club Secretary, Solo Class Captain and other roles, always exercising due diligence and diplomacy. An Assistant Dinghy Instructor and a club Racing Coach with the RYA First Aid qualification, he is always there when needed and is never afraid to ‘get his hands dirty’ for the good of the club. He has even worked as caretaker and groundsman, prompting his wife to comment that he never had time to do odd jobs at home because he was always doing them at the club.

Friendly, approachable and dependable, Paul has promoted the club brilliantly at external events and has been a tremendous teacher of young and older sailors alike. Working quietly and effectively to support the club through good times and bad, he has influenced changes that have seen a 40% increase in membership in the last decade. The club is thriving today, in large part due to his efforts.

Paul said of the Award: “I was very surprised and delighted to hear that I would receive this award; it is an honour of which I am proud but I am just one of many who have given their time to support my Club.”

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, said: “This year more than ever before we have seen our club volunteers come together and work tirelessly to ensure members can continue to sail. The generosity and dedication of each of the RYA Volunteer Award recipients is simply outstanding and it’s a pleasure to be able to recognise these winners through this award”.

Read all about each winner or find more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards.