RYA Shines Spotlight on Boating's Unsung Heroes - Sheena Berney

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

Sheena Berney 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.

Sheena Berney was nominated for an Outstanding Contribution Award and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. Sheena has been an active member of Blackwater Sailing Club for almost 40 years, where she has served in a number of roles and on multiple committees, including her current role of Membership Secretary, where she has brought in over 100 new members each year and organised the club’s annual open day. She has played a major part in the design and organisation of the club’s recent significant rebuild.

As an enthusiastic Fleet Captain for the local Sprite class, she has been one of the driving forces keeping this historic class active. She has also been heavily involved in the N18 class, helping to run their national championships in 2018. An experienced Race Officer, Sheena runs club racing and open meetings and also assists with a variety of social events at the club. She is an excellent ambassador for the club, someone who sees possible solutions, not problems and is always willing to help, freely offering her time with a smile.

Sheena said of the Award: “I was surprised and thrilled to receive an award for helping Members of our Club to enjoy the wonderful sport of sailing”.

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.