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

Sailors spanning the whole region, from Northamptonshire to north Staffordshire, will receive RYA Volunteer Awards at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony in London on Friday 22 November.

Eight volunteers 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:

  • Roy Alexander (South Staff SC)
  • Tony Baldock (Girton SC / Lincolnshire Scouts)
  • Mary Coles (Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association)
  • David and Christine Homer (Midland SC)
  • Jez Lewis (Syston SC)
  • Jill Magee (Leicestershire & Rutland Youth Sailing Association)
  • Tricia Ordsmith (Rudyard Lake SC)

Collage of RYA Lifetime Commitment Award winners Roy Alexander, Tony Baldock, Mary Coles and Jez LewisA further two 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:

  • Sue Bull (Cransley SC)
  • Tim Cripps (Notts County SC)

Meanwhile, Rudyard Lake SC's Lucas Barrow 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.

RYA Volunteer Award winners Tricia Ordsmith, Tim Cripps, Christine Homer and David HomerSue Bull joined Cransley SC eight years ago, when her son and daughter learnt to sail there. After learning to sail herself, she was keen to give something back, so gained her RYA Powerboat Level 2 and Safety Boat qualifications and joined the committee, becoming club Commodore and, in 2017, its RYA Training Principal. Her dedication to her training role has led to a rise in club members.

She said: "I get so much pleasure out of doing what I do, but to receive an award for doing something I enjoy is the icing on the cake. I must be a bit bonkers as I really enjoy our RYA annual inspection. It's nothing to be scared of as it's a two way conversation and I always pick up some great tips to implement. I look forward to the annual Affiliated Clubs Conference too as I always come away with ideas on how to improve what we do." 

Meanwhile, although a non-sailor herself, Jill Magee has been the backbone of LRYSA for over 20 years. Her official title is Secretary, but she contributes so much more, including raising more than £100,000 in the last 10 years for training, new equipment and running free sessions. Her determination with a recent crowdfunding campaign also raised over £15,000 towards a new clubhouse.

Jill said: "As a volunteer who only covers the admin for the charity I get great satisfaction in seeing the advantages sailing brings to people of all ages, whether it’s the young people competing in challenging conditions, building their confidence and self-esteem, or seeing retired people combating loneliness and feeling part of a group. I never thought I would ever receive an honour like this."

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 nominated by their clubs and selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. 

Find more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards at www.rya.org.uk/go/volunteerawards