"Someone said something 'strange' that didn't quite match, so I did wonder," he said. Other than that club members kept the secret. 

On 21 November it became public knowledge when he received the award from HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA at the organisation's annual Volunteer Awards ceremony held at London's One Great George Street.

Dennis was nominated for his award by members of Bolton Sailing Club and was selected as a winner by the Awards panel for his outstanding dedication.

Three mornings a week, Dennis can be found at the club, doing maintenance work in his joint role as Bosun. Then on Friday evenings in particular he takes on the job of instructor to young and novice sailors.

His relaxed and thoughtful approach is greatly appreciated by the various school groups with which he works.Dennis regularly helps out with safety boat duties and his support of all the clubs activities; OnBoard, Sailability, Special School Week and Junior camps has been vital in the success of these events.

He has also served on the House Committee and General Committee of the club.

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive says "The RYA is delighted to make this award in recognition of Dennis's enthusiasm, promotion of our sport and many years' contribution to the North West region's boating scene."