Stephen Norris first went sailing at Red Wharf Bay on family
holidays, before moving to the area and spending more than 40 years involved in
many roles at the club, helping it to survive and grow while developing young
talent to succeed at national and international level.
The 63-year-old has been nominated for a Lifetime Commitment
Award by his club and has been selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and
He will receive his award
at the organisation's annual awards ceremony in London on November 24.
Among the many junior sailors to have come through the
club's coaching system under the supervision of Norris are daughter Emma and
son Alistair, who compete at national level in the RS200 class - Emma and
partner Matt Mee being crowned British champions in 2013.
"I have just had a lifelong love and passion for the sport
and the area from coming here on holiday and then settling ourselves here now,"
"I started dinghy sailing when I was 13 and still try to be
as competitive as I can, while my son and daughter both compete at the highest
level of competition. Having helped my own son and daughter through to success
at national level, my main passion now is teaching other children.
"I also help organise the Anglesey Offshore Dinghy Race
every year in the second week of August, when around 60-80 boats race a 14 mile
course around the Island from Beaumaris to Traeth Bychan (the home of Red Wharf
Norris has organised that huge event for Red Wharf Bay
sailing for 18 years, served as Club Honorary Secretary for 23 years and held the
role as Club Commodore for two years, remaining a trustee and active member of
the general committee.
The club stalwart is a dinghy instructor for the club's
Junior Sail training programme, a qualified race officer, as well as helping
the club attain RYA training centre recognition.
"Although we have some very, very good local members, we are
essentially a holiday club. We had a bit of a downturn 20 years ago which we
had to fight," said Norris.
"We re-branded ourselves, added "Watersports" to the name of
the club, and made ourselves more open.
"That was successful and we continue to hold our membership
levels, but the biggest social driver for the club - that keeps the life blood
of the club going - is our junior sail training.
"For two weeks in August we have 30-40 children learning to
sail, that is the future and helps keep holiday membership levels the same."
While Norris puts the time and effort in because of his
passion for sailing in general and Red Wharf Bay in particular, receiving
national recognition from HRH The Princess Royal is a nice added bonus.
"This recognition is fabulous," he said.
"You don't do it
for that, you do it for the enjoyment and passion for the sport as well as
being able to pass on knowledge, but we are looking forward to the day of the
awards and it will be fantastic.
"It will be a chance to meet some old friends, but also a
special treat for my wife Gillian who has been the silent hero by my side
through all this, so she is looking forward to it as well."