The Awards were presented by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA, in recognition of boating’s most dedicated volunteers.   Alison (Ali) Husband and Tony Evans both received RYA Lifetime Commitment Awards at the ceremony, held at One Great George Street, Westminster, London, in recognition of their commitment to sailing.  

Since joining the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in 1982 Ali has attracted support funding from local companies to get youngsters out sailing and was influential in the completion of a major pontoon replacement project. Now a Senior Instructor, she helps with the Wednesday Junior Sailing scheme and is now its Head working with the RYA Club Principal and volunteers to ensure the success of weekly sailing sessions for over 100 children aged eight to eighteen.  

“I felt very honoured to be among such a select band of likeminded volunteers,” reported Ali.  “This award demonstrates the fantastic support given by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, Lymington Yacht Haven and the dedicated Wednesday Junior Sailor volunteers.”  

Tony has been organising children’s Saturday morning sailing at Salterns Lake since 2012, increasing the number of children registered for Salterns sailing from 25 to 62. Families have joined the club specifically because of the reputation he has built. Tony persuaded his club, the Lymington Town Sailing Club, to invest in boats to enable young Salterns sailors to graduate to the Lymington River and the Solent, developing a pathway towards continued participation.  He has also arranged for eight of his helpers to take Assistant Instructor courses.  

“I was absolutely delighted to receive the award, which is an exceptional recognition both personally, and to the club as a whole,” said Tony.  “It was quite humbling to meet other award winners and hear details of their remarkable achievements and commitment to helping others. Both the venue and the whole award ceremony was exceptional and wonderfully organised. Meeting HRH, who is friendly, humorous and clearly very knowledgeable on sailing matters was a highlight that I shall not forget.”  

RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson commented: “The RYA Volunteer Awards, sometimes known as the MBEs of our sport, recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers nationwide.”  He adds “Today has been a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the people that go above and beyond, giving that little bit extra to ensure others can enjoy the sport we all love.  Volunteers really are the lifeblood of boating and it’s an honour to reward their efforts and give something back.”  

Watch a video of the event.  

Nominations are now invited for the 2019 RYA Volunteer Awards.