The region�s winners received one of four RYA Awards - Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution, Family award and Endeavour award.

The RYA Volunteer Awards are considered the �MBEs' of the sport, honouring people for their exceptional generosity and commitment to boating. The winners were nominated by their clubs and selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

The London and South East 2017 RYA Volunteer Award winners were:

Lifetime Commitment - individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years

  • Andy Bennett, Littleton SC
  • Dick Eager, Scouts West Sussex RYA Sea School
  • David Hawkins, Frensham Pond SC
  • Jean Keating, Upper Thames SC
  • Brian and Christine Williams, North London Sailing Association

Outstanding Contribution - individuals who have made a significant volunteer contribution either over a period of time or a �one-off� effort

  • Janice Beaumont, Croydon SC
  • Alison Benz, Queen Mary SC
  • Zalan Paksy and Jane Glanida, Varne Boat Club

Award for Endeavour

  • Greig City Academy, Haringey, North London

Family Award - presented to a family group deserving of recognition for the impact they have made both as individuals and collectively.

  • The Videlo family from Frensham Pond SC.

Three years ago, thanks to the foresight and dedication of a remarkable teacher, Jon Holt, the Greig City Academy and its students set their sights on competing in the 2016 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and the 2017 RORC Rolex Fastnet Race. After raising funds to purchase and restore ex-Admiral�s Cup yacht Saramouche, many students gaining RYA qualifications, over 120 students sailing on Saramouche, and lots of training in smaller boats including the Cowes Etchells fleet, Project Saramouche became the first state school to complete the Fastnet.

Jon collected the award alongside puplis Montel Fagan-Jordan, Shabazz Patterson and Camilo Orobio, and said: �It's a huge honour to receive this award and be in the company of the guests here today.�

Eleven members of the Videlo family were named in their nomination by Frensham Pond SC. The family�s continuous 55 years of active contribution to Frensham Pond is exceptional and inspirational, not only because it spans three generations, but also because it exemplifies an enthusiasm for dinghy sailing and the willingness to volunteer on which all successful clubs are built.

"It's really nice to be here picking up the award with our family, we love being part of our sailing club and we get to see each other all the time," said Rebecca Videlo. "Sailing clubs are really social and you get to make loads of friends. Meeting Her Royal Highness was amazing and really inspirational."

Lifetime Commitment Award winner Jean Keating said: "The awards ceremony was memorable in every way, beautiful building and a friendly relaxed atmosphere. What was most uplifting was how sailing had made such a difference to so many lives. The achievement of the Greig City Academy students and teacher represents what sailing can achieve - one I will never forget."

Janice Beaumont said of receiving her Oustanding Contribution Award: "Stepping onto the stage to shake hands with the Princess was a memorable occasion. It is a privilege to be part of the development at Croydon Sailing Club, which would not have been possible without the support of the RYA and grant funding. It was inspirational to meet the other award winners and celebrate the achievements of dedicated club volunteers from across the UK."