(Picture shows Bob Elliott, one of the award winners)

They have been nominated for Lifetime Commitment Awards by their clubs and have been selected as winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. They will receive their awards at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 16 November.

David Finch has been a leading member of Silver Wing Sailing club for over 60 years, having twice taken the role of commodore and having served as a club officer for much of this time, steering the club through some turbulent times.

On hearing that he had been selected for the award David said: “My first thought was to the support and sometime forbearance I and all volunteers regularly receive from our families, helped by my good sense in marrying a sailor, the girl I first met on a sailing course 60 years ago.”

Hector Morris served as treasurer for Upper Thames Sailing for over 10 years, and he worked tirelessly as a Trustee when the club was affected by nearby development. For 23 years, his services on the Wednesday night race team helped build the popularity of the club’s mid-week sailing and he was instrumental in putting a training programme in place for the children of members.

Hector said: “I was amazed to receive an award for something that I always enjoyed doing with the opportunity it gave me of meeting so many interesting characters.”

Nigel Barraclough has volunteered at Littleton Phabsail for 20 years and has been providing vital support as its Maintenance Officer since 2013, looking after virtually all the club’s equipment. Over the years he has helped with most, if not all, aspects of running the club and is a respected Trustee of the charity.

Nigel said of his selection: “It was a complete surprise! Over the years I have met some wonderful people and had a lot of pleasure from Phabsail – and of course I am very much looking forward to enjoying the awards ceremony.”

Dave Gordon has been a member of Hastings and St Leonards Sailing Club for 35 years, a coxswain for 10, and he sits on the Sailing Committee. An experienced and active dinghy instructor, he volunteers on adult and youth training courses. Dave is the backbone of the club. His diligence and good humour have been crucial in enabling it to prosper and, in recognition of sterling work, he was made an honorary member in 2015.

Dave said: “The award came as a complete surprise to me as I was totally unaware
that the club had nominated me. I feel very honoured to have been given
this award and would like to thank my fellow club members for all the
help and assistance they have given me over the years I have been
Coxswain.”

During 35 years’ membership of Tonbridge Town Sailing Club, Bob Elliot has been at the forefront of the club in a number of prominent roles. As an RYA Dinghy Instructor and Powerboat Instructor, he has supported and encouraged two generations and hundreds of new sailors with patience and good humour, as generous with his encouragement of the adults as he is with the children.

Bob said on hearing of his selection: ‘I was both surprised and honoured to learn that I had been put forward for this award, as I am one of a team of dedicated volunteers at our club. I am very much looking forward to the day and to receiving the award.”

For more information about how to get out on the water in the London and South East region visit www.rya.org.uk/go/startboating