At the RYA Volunteer Awards on Friday (24 November) 58 awards were presented in recognition of boating's most dedicated volunteers and the pioneering Project Scaramouche.
Held at One Great George Street, Westminster, London, the volunteers received their awards from Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. Before the awards presentation, RYA CEO Sarah Treseder presented Her Royal Highness with pair of marine binoculars on behalf of the RYA's Members to mark her 30 years as President of the RYA.
The RYA Volunteer Awards are recognised across five categories: the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award, the Family Award and the RYA Award for Endeavour.
Recognised for their commitment to boating and the RYA at a national level were Neil and Julie Jackson, Ken Kershaw and Martin Smethers whilst Janet Gilmour, Robin Gray and David Staniforth were presented with RYA Awards in recognition of their contribution to their region.
RYA Community Awards
The RYA Community Awards, consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Commitment and three Youth winners were presented to volunteers nominated by their sailing clubs and class associations and selected by the RYA Awards Panel for their contribution to boating at grassroots level.
Kamila Czartolomna (17) from South Staffordshire Sailing Club, was described as a 'leading light'. She inspired a group of teenagers to become actively involved in the club and was named as an exceptional ambassador for the club and the sport.
Kamila said: "I was quite shocked when I found out I had won, I wasn't expecting it at all to be honest. I do what I do at the club mainly just for fun, I really enjoy doing it. With sailing it's not just about everyone doing the same thing-you also have powerboating. You can become a part of the club and have a really good time".
Francis Elkin Award
Chris Williams OBE was presented with the 2017 Francis Elkin Award recognising his work as founder and Chairman of The Gwennili Trust, a voluntary organisation which provides offshore crewing opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities. Chris has invested huge amounts of his own time and money to provide sailing opportunities to others and is a very active fundraiser for the Trust.
The RYA Family Award is presented to a family group deserving of recognition for the impact they have made both as individuals and as a family. This year was it was awarded to three generations of the Videlo family.
Mo Videlo was unable to attend but the award was collected by her children Keith, Ian and Karen (Ferguson) ; Keith's wife Steph, and their children Rebecca and Charlotte plus Ian's wife Alyson; Karen's husband Gary and their daughter Megan.
The family received their award in recognition of the contribution they have made to Frensham Pond Sailing Club over 55 years.
"It's really nice to be here picking up an award with our family, we love being part of our sailing club and we get to see each other all the time" said Rebecca Videlo. "Sailing clubs are really social and you get to make loads of friends. Meeting Her Royal Highness was amazing and felt really inspirational".
RYA Award for Endeavour
Greig City Academy based in North London is the first London State School to have its own sailing club and was named as the winner of the RYA Award for Endeavour for Project Scaramouche.
The project saw a group of 12 students learn to sail, give over 50 talks and raise enough funding to purchase and restore the 45ft yacht Scaramouche. So far over 120 young people have had the opportunity to sail on Scaramouche and in August eight youngsters completed the RORC Rolex Fastnet Race.
Jon Holt, the teacher responsible for the project collected the award alongside pupils Montel Fagan-Jordan, Shabazz Patterson and Camilo Orobio. Jon said: "It's a huge honour to be nominated for the RYA Award for Endeavour, not just to receive the award but also to be in the company of the guests here today".
RYA Director of Sport Development, Alistair Dickson concluded: "Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport. Today has been an excellent opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work our volunteers do to support boating activity in all forms throughout the UK.
"All of the stories behind these special people have been truly inspiring to hear and it's really an honour to be able to say thank you and celebrate their amazing achievements."
Nominations are now invited for the 2018 RYA Volunteer Awards.