Dedicated volunteers from across the country had their endeavours recognised by HRH the Princess Royal at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards in London yesterday (21st November 2013).
No fewer than 43 winners nationally were honoured for their exceptional generosity and achievements in boating at an awards ceremony and exclusive luncheon, held at One Great George Street. Volunteers were presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate.
"These people are the backbone of our sailing clubs, the kind who give up their time to nurture people's enthusiasm for sailing and boating. They're the ones who enable all of us to have great fun and to enjoy being out on the water" said RYA Chairman, Stacey Clark.
The RYA Volunteer Awards were divided into four categories: the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award and the RYA Family Award.
The RYA Family Award is presented to a family group who are deserving of recognition for the impact they have made, both as individuals and collectively and was awarded to the Drake family: Tony, Amanda and their children Francesca, Jonathan and Isabella. All are members of Sandwich Bay Sailing and Waterski Club.
"It was a huge surprise- we were nominated on the quiet!" explains Tony. "We do anything and everything that needs to be done at our club from preparing food to fixing the slipway. When we found out we were being given an award we were totally amazed."
The winners of the RYA Awards were David Darbyshire, Pat Dodd, Nick Harrison, Colin Jenkins, Martin Broom, MBE, Arthur Houston, Oliver Lynas and David Wheldon recognising their individual commitment and service to boating and to the RYA at a regional or national level.
The Community Awards, consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth categories, were presented to winners nominated by their sailing clubs and selected by the RYA Awards Panel for their contributions to grassroots sailing at club level. HRH The Princess Royal presented a total of 21 Lifetime Commitment Awards, nine Outstanding Contribution Awards and three Youth Awards
In the Youth category, recognising volunteering carried out by young people, winner Kelly Mayhew from Neyland Yacht Club commented: "It was great to meet HRH the Princess Royal; she asked me how I was introduced into sailing. For me it's not just about the sport side, it's also the social side. Sailing brings families together and everyone can get involved".
Francis Elkin Award
William Smith was awarded the 2013 Francis Elkin Award, recognising his lifetime of hard work to encourage people to take up sailing. Bill is a pioneer in the development of facilities for disabled people and a leader in taking visually impaired people out on the water. Unfortunately Bill was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness but his wife Patricia, collected it on his behalf.
Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive concluded: "The RYA is delighted to present these RYA Volunteer Awards in recognition of the enthusiasm, promotion of our sport and many years of dedication that all award winners have provided. They are an inspiration to us all and it is my pleasure to recognise and celebrate their sheer hard work and commitment."
Nominations for the 2014 RYA Volunteer Awards will be invited from January. For more information about the awards click here