HRH The Princess Royal to present awards for outstanding achievement and commitment at special ceremony this week.
Two volunteers from Scotland are to receive RYA Awards in recognition of their commitment to the sport.
Both were nominated by fellow members or colleagues and selected as winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. They have been invited along with other award nominees from across the country to receive their awards from HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, at a special ceremony in London on 16 November.
RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder said that without the work of inspirational volunteers at clubs and centres the sport would be immeasurably poorer, adding: "The generosity and dedication of this year’s RYA Volunteer Award winners is simply astounding."
Laura Carrick, of Able 2 Sail based in Renfrewshire, is to receive the The Francis Elkin Award, which is presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution in time, effort and personal endeavour to enable people with disabilities to become involved in sailing.
Laura is the Youth Forum co-ordinator at the charity able2sail, where she ensures that young people with a wide range of additional needs are supported to access sailing and gain certification through the RYA Sailability Programme. Despite working full-time, Laura has volunteered for the charity for 12 years and shown exceptional commitment. She organises the summer programme, which includes weekends away on the West Coast of Scotland, and spends many hours every week collecting sailors in her car, taking them to sailing venues, supporting them on the water and taking them home.
Many of the Youth Forum members come from disadvantaged backgrounds and would never, without Laura, get access to the sport or the health and social benefits that it brings them. Laura has undertaken a great deal of training herself in order to help support the young sailors and now has Day Skipper, Start Racing, dinghy and powerboat qualifications. She is also a core part of the charity’s fundraising activities, not only applying for funds, but also undertaking sponsored events herself. Most recently, she did a sponsored cycle and sail from Glasgow to the north tip of the Outer Hebrides. This non-stop endurance event lasted five days, covering hundreds of miles on a bike and countless hours at sea. Through this event alone she raised approximately £15,000. In 2017, with her support, four members of the Youth Forum represented the Scotland West Team at the Special Olympics in Sheffield, winning two silver medals and one bronze. The team then won the 2018 RYA Sailability Team of the Year and has been chosen for Team GB at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Laura’s passion for helping people, and her selfless commitment, are truly inspirational. Her volunteering ensures that many young people, often from socially isolated lives and with few prospects, become confident, qualified and competitive sailors who can themselves mentor new members of the group.
George Thompson from West Lothian Sailing Club in Linlithgow will receive a RYA Outstanding Contribution Award.
After years of introducing young people to sailing through his profession, George retired and re-established West Lothian Sailing Club in 2009. A Senior Instructor, he inspires all ages and abilities through his Instructor, Powerboat, and Safety Boat courses – helping youngsters to progress to a high level and pass on their own knowledge. George is an enabler and has created a unique sailing hub in a central belt town. He allowed eight youngsters to borrow his own boat to enter the Brown Cup – six were from non-sailing families. When 12 young members were preparing for their Gold DofE yachting expedition, he ran additional courses to prepare them. One of his greatest legacies is the annual exchange week with German club RFCM, which he created knowing that bonds of friendship can be built across nations through sport. Hardworking and selfless, George has succeeded in passing on his great knowledge and passion, inspiring generations of sailors and having an enormous impact on countless lives in his community.