Carol Yates was selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel because of her commitment to the Lancashire School Sailing Association (LSSA) for 27 years.

"I had no idea I was getting the award until the letter came and it was a great honour. I was thrilled," she said.

A teacher, volunteer, Guide Leader and mentor to many young people, she has worked tirelessly to improve both the sailing and life-chances of those who might not otherwise have had access to the world of outdoor adventure.

She recalls how she first took up sailing: "I went for my first teaching job and at the end of the meeting I said to the head teacher: 'You haven't asked me any questions'. He replied 'Would you learn to sail' so I said yes and went on a course so I could - and this all happened."

Carol's contribution and commitment to youth sailing in the North West are considerable. Through LSSA she has supported dinghy sailing activities at Fishmoor, Blackburn, Tower Wood, Windermere and Coniston. She is an active member of the Association's Sailing Committee.

For the past 20 years, as Senior Instructor at the LSSA's annual residential Easter and Summer Sailing Schools, Carol has trained and led a team of Instructors and support staff, whilst also instructing and mentoring young people.

She has also consistently supported the Water Days Weekend, the North West's largest annual watersports event, and is the Outdoors Activity Advisor for the East Lancashire Guides Association.

The citation says: "Carol's contribution to the provision of dinghy sailing for youngsters in Lancashire, particularly those from the most deprived areas of East Lancashire, has been truly exceptional and she has gained a reputation for trustworthiness and integrity across the community."