Peter Willis from Ipswich received a Lifetime Commitment Award after being nominated by the Nancy Blackett Trust and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. He was presented with his Award at One Great George Street, London on Friday 22 November.

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs' of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, motor cruising, inland waterways and personal watercraft.

Watch a video of the awards here

Peter has for the last 22 years been the inspiration and driving force behind the Nancy Blackett Trust which he formed to complete the restoration of the classic yacht Nancy Blackett, once owned by the author Arthur Ransome, to preserve its history and keep it accessible to many. Today, Nancy Blackett is based on the River Orwell near Ipswich and regularly hosts groups of school children. Through this, he has introduced countless young people to sailing in a safe environment.

Peter said: “It turned out to be a really friendly, warm occasion, and a well-managed event. I met a lot of interesting fellow sailors, and the lunch was excellent. even my wife, who doesn't sail, was glad she'd come.”

Nominations are now invited for the 2020 RYA volunteer awards, visit