No fewer than five South West sailors are to be presented with some of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA in recognition of their commitment to the sport of sailing and the organisations for which they volunteer. They will receive their awards at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 16 November.


Michael Batchelor, from Clevedon, will receive a Lifetime Commitment Award. He first joined Clevedon Sailing Club in 1993, and soon became an active member who has served the club in a variety of committee. As Commodore, he worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the club, identify development opportunities and obtain two substantial Sport England grants towards refurbishment and training dinghies. 


Emma Bishop (17), from Portland, will receive a Youth Award, She has been instrumental in the running and development of Castle Cove Sailing Club Cadets for the past 18 months. She has reinvigorated the club’s training programme, ensuring race training is fun and enjoyable, and Cadet numbers have substantially increased as a result of her involvement. An accomplished, competitive sailor and an excellent role model, Emma is a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor and powerboat driver who provides support to the Cadet Officers and constant reassurance to the young sailors. 


David Greenfield, from Frampton on Severn, will receive a Lifetime Commitment Award. He has been a passionate supporter of Frampton on Severn Sailing Club for 36 years, holding almost every primary role within it. With a long-term vision to make sailing available to everyone, he incorporated Sailability into the club in 2000, building it up to become a recognised Sailability Centre that represents 25% of the club’s membership and supports a fleet of accessible boats. His extremely successful fundraising has provided for the purpose-built facilities for disabled members and is ongoing. 


Andrew Lucas, from Banwell, will receive an Outstanding Contribution Award. He has been supporting, leading and coaching the Axbridge Animals Team15 windsurfers at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club for over ten years. It is testimony to his dedication and excellent coaching that the youngsters won the Team15 Trophy in 2016 and 2017. Since his involvement, team membership has increased to the point where there is now a waiting list to join. 


Benedict Whybrow, from Yatton, will receive an Outstanding Contribution Award. Benedict has also been an active committee member at Clevedon Sailing Club, before becoming RYA Training Principal six years ago. He is front and centre of Cadet activities – supporting the Cadet Leader, working with local youth groups and schools to raise the profile of the club and facilitating an annual week of sailing on the challenging waters of the Bristol Channel. 

Congratulations to them all.