RYA shines a spotlight on unsung heroes in the south west

The RYA Volunteer Awards 2020 have been announced
20 Oct 20

Two loyal members of Frampton onSevern Sailing Club (FOSSC) and one from West Wilts Youth Sailing Association (WWYSA)are among 44 volunteers being celebrated across the UK for their exceptional dedicationto boating. 

David Coates, Priscilla Jordan, Chris WheelerThe RYA Volunteer Awards recogniseand say ‘thank you’ to volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution tothe sport, with recipients nominated by their sailing clubs, class associationsand members of the boating community. 

Priscilla Jordan, who is to receivea Lifetime Commitment award, joined Frampton on Severn Sailing Club with herfamily in 1995. She soon took on the role of Membership Secretary, and laterserved as Commodore, focusing on developing the club’s sail trainingfacilities. She was always at the club and if not sailing she was organisingthe galley as Social Secretary. Priscilla and her late husband, John, who sadlypassed away in January 2020, were a formidable team. Their partnership,together with her exceptional planning, negotiation and organisational skills,has enabled the club to offer facilities fit for the 2020s and beyond. 

“Thank you so much for this award,” commented Priscilla. “Itmakes me feel very proud to receive this on behalf of Frampton on SevernSailing Club. We are a family club and volunteers really do keep the clubrunning and are a very important part of the club. I am so proud to have beenchosen for this but I need to say that we all pull together and also to saythat I wish to mention my husband John Jordan who sadly died in January and wasinstrumental in leading the renovations at the club. So, well done everyone andwell done John who did so much work there.” 

David Coates, whois to be given an award for Outstanding Contribution, became FOSSC’s Commodorein 2017, and has worked to expand the scope of the club to include familysailing and a Junior Club. His positive, supportive attitude has deliveredcommunity involvement and his inclusive approach has attracted younger membersto the committee. He has given excellent direction to the club as a whole,maintaining its all-inclusive family-focused ethos. He commented: “I felt veryappreciative and honoured to receive this award, but I feel like I’m receivingit on behalf of all the volunteers at the club who do so much.”

Chris Wheeler, who is to be presented with a Lifetime Commitmentaward, has filled many posts at WWYSA, most recently Chief Instructor, offeringyoungsters the benefit of his vast sailing knowledge, experience and generallyhappy outlook for over 35 years. Following an arson attack at WWYSA, he mobilisedeveryone in the rebuild and ensured the club was up and running quickly. He wasthen appointed Project Manager when Sport England awarded partial funding fornew facilities and managed the role brilliantly, rallying a skilled volunteerteam and saving the club a huge amount of money.

Chris’s enthusiasm is infectious and his desire to helpothers never falters. His patient presence is always calm and encouraging andhe instils a sense of confidence and security. His reaction to being told aboutthe award was: “I’ve been with the club for about 38 years, and put inmany, many hours, just helping to keep it going and making sure everything’s asit should be. I’m really a ‘backroom boy’ and not one for putting myself forward,but I’m quietly pleased – it hasn’t really hit me yet.” 

Traditionally, RYA awardwinnersattend prestigious ceremony in London. However, this year, due to theongoing pandemic, David, Priscilla and Chris will receive their awards through thepost, and celebrations will be postponed. 

Find out more about the RYAVolunteer Awards