Neville and Val Khambatta have been nominated for a joint Outstanding Contribution Award by their club and has been selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. They will receive their award at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 16 November.

Both Neville and Val have been active on the Broads sailing scene for the past 25 years, particularly at their home club, the Norfolk Punt Club. Over this time they have actively supported the training of adults and young people in both sailing and powerboating. Val has been on the Norfolk Punt Club committee for 14 years and was Commodore in 2005. As Training School Principal she organises the annual Junior week, runs first aid training and advises the committee on health and safety standards. Neville was Commodore in 2013, has taught sailing at the club for as long as members can remember, and plays a major role in looking after the club’s boats.

Most recently, they initiated ‘Social Saturdays’, offering sailing and social opportunities to both members and non-members. As a direct result, the Punt Club has gained new members, some of whom are now taking an active role in the club. As well as being mainstays of the club, they also support local sailing charities – Val has been a Trustee of the Nancy Oldfield Trust since 2008, and Neville has been a Trustee of Hunters Yard since 1994. It is a double celebration for the couple as the presentation ceremony coincides with Neville’s 70th birthday!

Neville said of the award: “We were both quite surprised. Getting an ‘award’ for having fun messing about with boats and ropes and sails and generally being afloat on the Broads took some getting used to. Being lucky enough to be around the Punt Club and Barton Broad is a privilege. You don’t expect to get a free lunch in London on your birthday just for having fun sailing on the Broads!”

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