HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will honour 11 Midlands sailors with the RYA’s most prestigious awards next week in recognition of their exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport at grassroots level.

Sailors spanning the whole region, from south Northamptonshire to north Derbyshire, will receive RYA Volunteer Awards at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony on Friday 16 November.

Seven sailors will receive RYA Lifetime Commitment Award, for individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years. They are:

  • Graeme Castle (Banbury SC)
  • Judy Lambourne (Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association)
  • Tom Power (Rudyard Lake SC)
  • Tim Snellgrove (Glossop SC)
  • John Warner (Northampton SC)
  • Nick Waters (Staunton Harold SC)
  • Tony Lunch (Oxford University)

A further three will presented with RYA Outstanding Contribution Awards, for individuals who have made a significant volunteer contribution either over a period of time or a ‘one-off’ effort. They are:

  • Terry Radford (Swarkestone Sailability)
  • Andrew Rimmer (Banbury SC)
  • Ross Ryan (Notts County)

Meanwhile, Staunton Harold SC's Poppy Smith will also collect an RYA Youth Award, for individuals under 25 who have demonstrated a regular commitment and/or inspirational contribution over-and-above their own participation or achievement within the sport.

Poppy said: "My whole family sail so it's always been a part of my life. Sailing's given me friends of all ages, from all different backgrounds and from all over the world. Volunteering has been proven to help improve mental health, which has at times been a struggle as I have Cystic Fibrosis. Teaching has also given me a sense of responsibility, leadership and commitment. It's an amazing feeling to know how valued my help has been."

Rudyard Lake's Tom sadly passed away aged 86 in June, shortly before receiving news of the award. His son, Neil, will be presented with the award on Tom's behalf, while his other son Mark believes his father would have been very proud to know he had been honoured.

Mark said: "The award is very kind. Dad was pleased he introduced a love of boats to my brother and I and was very proud of his work introducing countless people to the joys of sailing boats, big and small. He made many long-term friends as a result. There was nothing he liked more than being at sea with the wind in his hair, while making for some distant port. His knowledge of navigation always made us feel we were in safe hands." 

Judy, meanwhile, has been recognised for her work in inspiring and enabling people with a passion for yacht sailing in the Midlands to get out on the sea.

She said: “The Midlands' cruising clubs are a well kept secret, but there are a lot of people interested in big boat sailing in our region. The clubs bring together like-minded people to share their interest all-year round whilst providing opportunities for everyone to get on the sea more regularly. Many members don’t own boats themselves, but the clubs give them a way to still enjoy their passion."

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs' of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft. The winners were selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. 

For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards