Two loyal members of Frampton on Severn Sailing Club (FOSSC) and one from West Wilts Youth Sailing Association (WWYSA) are among 44 volunteers being celebrated across the UK for their exceptional dedication to boating.  

David Coates, Priscilla Jordan, Chris WheelerThe RYA Volunteer Awards recognise and say ‘thank you’ to volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport, with recipients nominated by their sailing clubs, class associations and members of the boating community.  

Priscilla Jordan, who is to receive a Lifetime Commitment award, joined Frampton on Severn Sailing Club with her family in 1995. She soon took on the role of Membership Secretary, and later served as Commodore, focusing on developing the club’s sail training facilities. She was always at the club and if not sailing she was organising the galley as Social Secretary. Priscilla and her late husband, John, who sadly passed away in January 2020, were a formidable team. Their partnership, together with her exceptional planning, negotiation and organisational skills, has enabled the club to offer facilities fit for the 2020s and beyond.  

“Thank you so much for this award,” commented Priscilla. “It makes me feel very proud to receive this on behalf of Frampton on Severn Sailing Club. We are a family club and volunteers really do keep the club running and are a very important part of the club. I am so proud to have been chosen for this but I need to say that we all pull together and also to say that I wish to mention my husband John Jordan who sadly died in January and was instrumental in leading the renovations at the club. So, well done everyone and well done John who did so much work there.”  

David Coates, who is to be given an award for Outstanding Contribution, became FOSSC’s Commodore in 2017, and has worked to expand the scope of the club to include family sailing and a Junior Club. His positive, supportive attitude has delivered community involvement and his inclusive approach has attracted younger members to the committee. He has given excellent direction to the club as a whole, maintaining its all-inclusive family-focused ethos. He commented: “I felt very appreciative and honoured to receive this award, but I feel like I’m receiving it on behalf of all the volunteers at the club who do so much.”

Chris Wheeler, who is to be presented with a Lifetime Commitment award, has filled many posts at WWYSA, most recently Chief Instructor, offering youngsters the benefit of his vast sailing knowledge, experience and generally happy outlook for over 35 years. Following an arson attack at WWYSA, he mobilised everyone in the rebuild and ensured the club was up and running quickly. He was then appointed Project Manager when Sport England awarded partial funding for new facilities and managed the role brilliantly, rallying a skilled volunteer team and saving the club a huge amount of money.

Chris’s enthusiasm is infectious and his desire to help others never falters. His patient presence is always calm and encouraging and he instils a sense of confidence and security. His reaction to being told about the award was: “I’ve been with the club for about 38 years, and put in many, many hours, just helping to keep it going and making sure everything’s as it should be. I’m really a ‘backroom boy’ and not one for putting myself forward, but I’m quietly pleased – it hasn’t really hit me yet.”  

Traditionally, RYA awardwinners attend prestigious ceremony in London. However, this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, David, Priscilla and Chris will receive their awards through the post, and celebrations will be postponed.  

Find out more about the RYA Volunteer Awards.